[Brief editors note, this review of a miniseries from 2009 was put on the website because I watched this film in my 8th grade class and was asked to review it. While jacksreviews has been inactive for a long time, it will be coming back very soon.]
Masterpiece Classic: The Diary of Anne Frank is a good, but not great, film about Anne Frank. The film has many moments where it feels like it’s hitting the right notes, and that’s for most of the runtime, but at times, the film is haunted by poor dialogue, mediocre acting, and awkward cinematography. All of those issues are understandable especially since it was a five-part miniseries.
Ellie Kendrick, the actress chosen to play Anne Frank, did a great job as Anne Frank in my opinion. She came off as the talkative yet deep girl from history which was a pleasant surprise since child actors are always risks. The real issue, however, is a poor performance from Geoff Breton, who plays Peter. It may have been the poorly written dialogue in the love story between Anne and Peter or just Breton’s botched delivery of his lines, but Peter comes off as almost creepy in some scenes.
The film (or miniseries) also suffers from underdeveloped side characters and out of place British accents. The accents are understandable since the film is Masterpiece Classic (about as British as it gets), but German accents may have made some of the performances feel more authentic. Underdeveloped side characters plague the film though. While the book (or what we know of the true story) doesn’t necessarily have the same development for Anne as it does for the side characters (most likely due to being written by Anne Frank), the film can’t help but feel empty in the end when the Van Daans didn’t change at all and Mr. Dussel changed a very small amount.
The film does an excellent job, however, of showing what must be going through Anne’s head in the beginning and her dedication to writing. While Anne’s relationship with her mother makes Anne just seem like a bad person to her mother in the film as opposed to in the book, other moments inside of Anne’s head make up for this. The director shows people watching how little Anne knows about what is going on in the beginning with swift movements and thoughts of non war related things during shocking events. Another added bonus in the film is the unexpected appearance made by Oscar nominated actress Felicity Jones as Anne’s older sister Margot.
Overall, Masterpiece Classic: The Diary of Anne Frank is worth your time as long as you can get past slower patches, some poor dialogue and performances and out of place British accents. Beyond that, it is a well directed film that captures the feeling of being trapped in a bunker well.