My Best Friend Anne Frank (2021) Review: Ben Sombogaart’s Film Fails To Utilize Hidden Potential

My Best Friend Anne Frank (Mijn beste vriendin Anne Frank in Dutch) is a 2021 Dutch drama film by Ben Sombogaart, who directed the film Twin Sisters in 2002. It won the Golden Film award in October 2021 and revolves around the lives of best friends Hannah Goslar and Anne Frank during the outbreak of the Second World War. The film stars Aiko Beemsterboer, Josephine Arendsen, Roeland Fernhout, Lottie Hellingman and others in various roles. Written by Marian Batavier and Paul Ruven, the film has a runtime of around 1 hour and 45 minutes. The original audio is in Dutch, but the viewer can opt for English subtitles. 

– My Best Friend Anne Frank review does not contain spoilers –

Anne Frank is quite a phenomenon in the world of literature. The film is based on the book Memories of Anne Frank: Reflections of a Childhood Friend authored by Alison Leslie Gold. The synopsis of the film reads, “Based on the real-life friendship between Anne Frank and Hannah Goslar, from Nazi-occupied Amsterdam to their harrowing reunion in a concentration camp.” My Best Friend Anne Frank traces the stories of the best friends from 1942 Amsterdam to the time they were out in Nazi concentration camps in Bergen-Belsen, after being captured from Amsterdam.

The film serves as a reminder of the inhuman atrocities that were inflicted on the Jews by the Nazis during the Second World War. This fact in itself makes My Best Friend Anne Frank quite a sorrowful watch. There are depictions of torture, humiliation and cold-blooded murders that might become emotionally heavy for some of the viewers. The story is narrated from the point of view of Hanna, who, whilst spending her days in the concentration camp, reminisces about her childhood best friend Anne. The narrative keeps shifting from the dark damp Nazi camp to the bright sunny Amsterdam.

My Best Friend Anne Frank 1

One of the major disappointments of the film is the portrayal of Anne Frank. My Best Friend Anne Frank, in an attempt to add the shimmer of youthfulness and pre-World War times, has sometimes turned Anne into a very annoying, mean and spoiled girl. The film’s script is poorly developed and diverts from the “show, don’t tell” character of a film. Hannah’s dedication to Anne’s friendship is sometimes a cause of pity, especially when the same emotions are obviously not reciprocated by Anne. The rebellious spirit of Anne, which had been a prime feature, is not depicted quite well.

My Best Friend Anne Frank delves into the nature of control that the Nazis practised. They treated the prisoners as insects, killed them whenever they wanted to and took great pleasure in watching them perish in the direst of circumstances. But, the film is also a story of how the human spirit endures. It is a story about courage and resilience, but mainly of hope. Josephine Arendsen, who played Hannah, is a delight to watch and lifts up the film at times when the script fails her. The other characters lack depth, resulting in a movie with a lot of wasted potential.

Also Read: The Falls (2021) Review: Alyssa Chia Movie Relives the Pandemic Horror

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Summing up, My Best Friend Anne Frank 

Anne Frank is a name that is familiar all around the world. People know her story. The film, instead of adding a new perspective, works with elements that are already known to most of the viewers. The film lacks depth and fails to excite its viewers. Apart from the soul-crushing depiction of Nazi tyranny, there is no real emotional quotient. The relationship between Anne and Hannah feel superficial and downright pretentious at times. My Best Friend Anne Frank could have been quite an important watch but fell quite flat. 

My Best Friend Anne Frank is now streaming on Netflix.

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REVIEW OVERVIEW

Overall

SUMMARY

My Best Friend Anne Frank revolves around friendship between Anne Frank and Hannah Goslar but fails to leave a mark.

5 COMMENTS

  1. This movie did not excite me. Was expecting more. “Anne Frank depicted as a spoiled young lady. I visited Anne Frank House in
    Amsterdam. An experience I will never forget. This movie not for me and would not recommend it. Very disappointing.

  2. I was very disappointed in this movie as it didn’t excite me and I felt that it didn’t do enough of showing the horrors of this terrible time period

    • I totally agree some reviewers lsay it shows the depictions of the brutality but I don’t see that at all here and there’s somebody gets kicked spat or even killed but when did they have sleeping “quarters” in the Camp instead of being stacked up like wood one and top of another and their appearance was quite healthy looking no skeletons here it just wasn’t realistic at all and in a way it was kind of boring I hate to say that but I am first generation of both sides of my family of German Jews who survived and many who didn’t so I think I know of which I speak besides studying with Elie Wiesel etc. I’ve always been obsessed with the Holocaust that’s how unnerving and scary it is to me there literally is nothing that compares to it

  3. Having recently re read The Diary of a Young Girl and having an avid interest in The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich which I read while I was stationed in Vietnam in 1968. I commend the film for trying very hard to deal with its subjects. It was a film about two young girls, young teenagers immersed in the total horrors of the Nazi’s and their disgusting existence and abhorrent treatment of Jewish human beings. Just two young teenage girls in a firestorm of horror. The movie broke my heart once again.

  4. Who, realistically would, really know how Anne Frank behaved, her personality, and so forth. The same goes for her friend, Hannah. ….terrible depiction of the two of them. Who would know how the two of them interacted with each other and others. This movie was not realistic enough. Was Anne Frank truly mean? Was she truly obnoxious? Was she truly spoiled? I agree with the others who have left comments. …a well-written article! Thank you for your keen observations.

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My Best Friend Anne Frank revolves around friendship between Anne Frank and Hannah Goslar but fails to leave a mark.My Best Friend Anne Frank (2021) Review: Ben Sombogaart’s Film Fails To Utilize Hidden Potential