Anne Frank: The Whole Story
Reviewed by: Christian St John
Starring: Ben Kingsley, Brenda Blethyn, Hannah Taylor-Gordon, Tatjana Blacher, Joachim Król, Jessica Manley | Directed by: Robert Dornhelm | Produced by: Kirk Ellis, David R. Kappes | Written by: Melissa Muller (book), Kirk Ellis (teleplay)
The story of Anne Frank has inspired millions of people worldwide and rightly so. We’ve all seen the “Jewish Holocaust” movies where we see thousands of innocent people marched off to their impending doom but this Disney produced Anne Frank takes the story of this brave young girl and makes it that much more personal, at least it did to me. She always said she would be someone someday…
The film, although a bittersweet tale, is quite disturbing. Throughout it there is a sense that the world is closing in around the Frank family and I found it very sad because we all know how the story will end. These are some of the most disturbing scenes I have seen of the infamous “camps”. (There is brief nudity, some violence and scenes of people starving and suffering, although unlike most films of this genre, it did have a warning at the beginning of the film.)
The movie stars Ben Kingsley as Anne’s father Otto (in a brilliant performance). He comes across onscreen as a man who knew exactly what was going on around him but refused to let his feelings show. Instead he showed an inner strength that kept it all together. But his eyes betray his true feelings—if you watch this film, look into his eyes and see what I mean. An interesting note is that whilst making “Schindler’s List” and “Anne Frank: The Whole Story”, Kingsley kept a photo of the real Anne Frank in his pocket and often looked at it saying “I’m doing this for you darling.”
Hanna Gordon-Taylor is superb as Anne. She plays Anne so well, even looking so much like the real Anne, that I believe she was the best choice for this role. She literally became Anne. Miss Gordon-Taylor will go on to have a long and great career, but “Anne Frank” will likely be her standout performance.
From a biblical Christian point of view I found nothing offensive in this film. There are a few profanities, a scene in which Anne asks if she could touch another girl’s breasts (though not in a homosexual way), a couple of scenes of nudity (in the camps) and the violence, although not as explicit as “Schindler’s List”, was still there.
I would not recommend this film for children, but would wholeheartedly recommend that this film be viewed by teens and adults to remind them of what really happened, lest it should ever happen again. Not a film you will easily forget, but let’s face it—Anne’s story is one we don’t want to ever forget.
Anne desperately wanted to be someone, and in spite of it all, she succeeded.
Year of Release—2001 (TV)
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