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Series / Anne Frank: The Whole Story

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"I want to be a champion skater and a writer, I want my picture in all the magazines. Maybe I'll be a movie star...I want to be different from all the other girls. I want to be a modern woman! I want to travel, I want to study languages... languages and history! I want to do everything..."

"We've suffered before, and it's only made us stronger!"
Anne to Peter

A two-part Mini Series and Bio Pic on the life of teen Holocaust victim Anne Frank. Premiering on ABC in May 2001, it's been called the most accurate portrayal of Anne Frank's life (even though no real diary passages were used), and is so far the only film to go through her life in the concentration camp, and actually doesn't end until a month after she has died.

The film starts in 1939, with Anne already going to her Jewish-only middle school, and having a fairly normal life with her friends. However, it all begins to crumble around her the first time the propaganda and Antisemitism hits hard. Anne receives a diary for her 13th birthday, and begins writing about all the terrible things happening to her, up to the day her older sister Margot receives a call-up notice to report to Bergen-Belsen for work. With no other choice, the Frank family, along with family friends the Van Pels, have to live in a two-story, but extremely cramped, attic, and manage to stay hidden for almost three years before an anonymous tip sends the Nazis their way.

While this is where the play and original black and white film ends, as mentioned above, this film goes much further, and manages to give beautiful, accurate (the actresses actually cut all their hair off!), and definitely heartbreaking moments, leading up to a month after Anne died. Hannah Taylor-Gordon, who played Anne, received both Golden Globe and Emmy Award nominations for her performance as Anne Frank, while Ben Kingsley won a Screen Actor's Guild Award for his performance as Otto Frank, Anne's father. The film has sadly never been in theaters, but the DVD is available now, and the entire film is watchable on Youtube.

This series provides examples of:

  • A-Cup Angst: Anne has it, what with her stuffing Margot's old bra in one scene and enviously looking at her curvier sister's form when they're toweling off at the beach.
  • Alone in a Crowd: Otto, once he gets off the train and is searching for his wife and children.
  • Ambiguously Bi: The miniseries does hint at Anne's bisexuality, as she takes the time to notice Margot's growing breasts and asks if she can feel Jacqui's at one point.
  • Anyone Can Die: So true....
  • Artistic Licence – History:
    • The miniseries depicts the cleaning lady Lena Hartog as the betrayer, as Melissa Mueller named her as such in the book. See Dated History on the Trivia tab for why this didn't actually happen.
    • After a nightmare about Hannah, Anne curses all the Germans and is horrified to learn that her own family has German heritage. In reality Anne knew about her German roots (being born in Germany and living there for her first five years of life) and wrote in her diary how sad she was that her homeland was being corrupted by the Nazis.
  • Based on a True Story: The one closest to the actual events so far.
  • Boring Religious Service: Before they go into hiding, we see Anne and her family attend Shabbos dinner at Hanna's house. Otto glares at Anne for fidgeting while Hanna's father recites the Kiddush.
  • Break the Cutie:
    • While Anne shows little hopelessness despite her religion being persecuted, slowly but surely when she goes into the concentration camp she slowly fades away. Anne realizing Margot is dead is the final event that makes life not worth living to her anymore, so she lets herself die a few days later.
    • Hannah and her Father can count as this. When we first meet him, he's a jovial man who entertains everyone. He loses his wife in childbirth and is taken to the camps with his two young daughters. When we last see Hannah, she tells us that he was given a Hope Spot that they were going to be exchanged, but it never happened and he died soon after.
    • Margot ended up having to depend on her family when her glasses were taken away at the concentration camp and ends up becoming dependent on her younger sister, this is a long way from the sweet, studious, and pretty girl who was admired by the adults so much.
  • Bookcase Passage
  • Daddy's Girl: At least in the first half, though she never really makes amends with her mother for being so cruel.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Hannah's Mother on Anne: "God knows everything but Anne knows everything better."
  • Death of a Child:
    • Margot dies falling out of bed in Bergen Belsen, and Anne's death then occurs offscreen.
    • When arriving at Auschwitz, a bunch of children are seen being led away, implying they're going to their deaths.
  • Died in Your Arms Tonight: Margot dies in Anne's arms.
  • Downer Ending: You'd think that, in light of the black and white film, there would be at least a glimmer of hope in the final scene (in the black and white film, it's shown that Anne's diary is going to change Otto for the better,) but nope. The film ends with Otto going back to Anne's old room, all her pictures still on the wall, and collapsing to the ground in sorrow. While the original film used Anne's diary as a means of changing Otto's character, but in this version it was more of Otto realizing what his daughter actually felt on the inside, and Otto realising he could have helped adds on to the sorrow.
  • Dramatic Irony:
    • Otto refuses to send his girls to live with his sister in London, saying it's safer to keep the family together. If he had, the girls may have survived the war.
    • Edith constantly goes on about how frail Anne is. Anne outlives both her and the stronger older sister.
  • First Kiss: Anne reveals to Jacqui that she’s never kissed anyone before. Eventually, she shares one with Peter.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Everyone knows what happens to the Franks, but it's still such a nail-biting scene when they are captured.
  • Frozen Face: Anne's expression, in the final shot with her in it. The reason being that now Anne has given up on life, and is letting herself succumb to death.
  • The Glorious War of Sisterly Rivalry: Anne would feel inferior to Margot whom she views as prettier and more favored. This does not get in the way of their relationship however.
  • Home by Christmas: When announcing the D Day landings, the BBC assures those living in occupied Europe that "1944 will be the year of your liberation!"
  • I Am Not Pretty: Anne doesn't view herself as a Beauty and doesn't believe Peter when he tells her she has a lovely smile.
  • Improbable Infant Survival: Although it is true to historical fact, Hannah's younger sister Gabi is said to have got an infection in Bergen Belsen but she survives.
  • I Take Offense to That Last One: During a dinner table argument between a few members of the Secret Annex, Edith scolds Mrs. Van Pels that she's "You're selfish, you're hysterical, and you're pushy!" to which Auguste replies "I am not pushy!"
  • I Need to Go Iron My Dog: When a burglar is heard breaking in downstairs, the men make various unconvincing excuses to leave the room to investigate.
  • Nightmare Sequence: After Hannah is arrested and taken to a concentration camp, Anne has nightmares in which she sees her, reaching out her hands and saying "Help me, Anne!"
  • Oppressed Minority Veteran: Otto Frank's service record from WWI will not prevent him from being deported by the Nazis. He can apply for Theresienstadt, a "model camp" specifically built for Jewish war veterans, but he knows perfectly well that the conditions are still horrible, while the rest of his family would be sent to even worse camps. The SD officer who arrests them does show some mild deference when he sees Otto's old war equipment, addressing Otto by his former rank, ordering the other soldiers to wait outside and telling him he can take his time to gather his family's belongings.
  • Out-of-Character Alert: Everyone stares at Peter when he comes down the stairs from the attic with a big grin on his face, after getting his first kiss from Anne.
  • Please Wake Up: Anne's reaction to Margot's death.
  • Rousseau Was Right: Anne's famous 'Everyone is good at heart' line, which was actually in her real diary. In the film, it's spoken.
  • Secret Diary: Subverted a bit; Anne's parents knew she was keeping a diary, but had no idea what she was writing in it, and didn't until weeks after the war was over.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: As in real life, Margot is well-mannered, reserved, and studious, while Anne is outspoken, energetic, and extroverted.
  • Sole Survivor: Only Otto Frank, Anne and Margot's father, lives out of the 8 people in the attic. The end of the film tells how everyone who wasn't on camera such as Peter and Edith supposedly died.
  • Survivor Guilt: Otto, seemingly at the end.
  • What You Are in the Dark: Anne tells Margot that her "Good Paula" only shows up in her writing and innermost thoughts (the context is about this story Otto told the sisters when they were children about a pair of Goofus and Gallant-like girls named Paula) and she's only "Bad Paula" because everyone else expects her to be that.