Anne Frank once lamented that she could have survived the war and her friend, Hannah Goslar, probably won’t. It is a haunting vision to remember when watching.”My Best Friend Anne Frank,” a Dutch film told from Hannah’s point of view. Ben Sombogaart’s costume drama shifts between Nazi-occupied Amsterdam, where Hannah and Anne were close friends, and the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, where they were later held separately.
The film wants to highlight a story of friendship and childhood innocence during the Holocaust. Anne (Aiko Beemsterboer) mischief delights and disappoints her loyal friend, Hannah (Josephine Arendsen), who feels left out when other girls (and boys) enter the picture. When Anne disappeared, Hannah didn’t realize that her friend was hiding nearby. She is soon overwhelmed with her family’s persecution by the Nazis.
In the camp scenes, a slick-faced Hannah trudges around the dreary, faceless surroundings. The messy depiction looks and feels odd compared to other movies in terms of the experience, and that doesn’t help given that Hannah is drawn less vividly than Anne. The director seems to have made time for their dramatic reunion, as Hannah learns that Anne is dying on the other side of the camp wall.
Clinging to Hannah’s naive views and cherished ideals about her friendship with Anne leads to some truths that are hard to hide or strangely dismissed. For example, physical violence tends to be staged in the scene (even when Hannah’s pregnant mother is abused at home). The credits emphasize the ear of the whole effort by claiming that Anne “has become what she wanted: world famous.”
My Best Friend Anne Frank
Not rated. In Dutch, German and Hungarian, with subtitles. Running time: 1 hour 43 minutes. Watch on Netflix.
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/01/movies/my-best-friend-anne-frank-review.html ‘My Best Friend Anne Frank’ Review: Divided By Nazis