Review of the Disney+ series ‘A small light’
Fascinating and moving series about the role that Miep Gies played in the story of Anne Frank.
The story of Anne Frank is known worldwide, but not everyone knows Miep Gies, the woman who helped Anne and her family hide. As Otto Frank’s secretary and close to his family, she was an obvious, if not necessary, choice for him to ask for help in times of need. The rest is history, to say the least. Finally Miep gets the series she deserves. And how.
As a central figure in the history of the people hidden in the Secret Annex, we would like to meet Miep Gies. Well played by Bel Powley, we see Miep going out, sleeping late, looking for a job or a husband without much enthusiasm, in short: stubborn and free-spirited. We can only guess to what extent this young woman resembles the real Miep, but the character portrayed is, in any case, captivating and impressive. When Otto Frank reluctantly asks him to help him, risking his own life, we know what his response will be. And because.
For years, Miep Gies was Otto Frank’s secretary. Naturally, she also met his wife and children and Otto met Miep’s husband, Jan. Miep watched Anne and her sister Margot grow up from her and a friendship developed between her and Otto. As difficult as it must have been for him to ask Miep to help him and his family hide, with all the possible consequences, there were probably few people she could entrust this task to. Miep does not hesitate for a moment to help her friends. Call him brave, reckless, or just human.
Of course, Anne Frank has a prominent presence in a little light. Sister Margot is even urged to talk about her sister, because she’s just more interesting. Understandable in itself, as the most famous Dutchman of all time. Still. When he brings Margot into the conversation, he feels a bit forced and fake. And that’s a shame, because the series is absolutely beautiful.
The events of the series are, of course, gripping, but there is also humor in it, which Powley can handle well. She effortlessly switches between the two and puts one
Miep down, who is happy and anxious at times. Hopeful and politically committed, often branded as naive by her environment, but no less kind for that, on the contrary. Even if Miep acts impulsively or impatiently, we are on your side.
The cast is mostly English, so it’s understandable that it’s the language of instruction. But because German is spoken regularly, the Dutch viewer will find it painful to miss the native language. Fortunately, the names are still Dutch and the actors do their best to pronounce them correctly, one better than the other. The attentive spectator will see the Dutch Hannah van Vliet pass by, in a small role. She, in turn, is educated enough to pronounce Dutch names the same way as her English colleagues.
It should come as no surprise that the Dutch hand in this series is small: of the countless Anne Frank films, only one was made in the Netherlands. Through your own fault, fat hump, let’s say. Miep would be surprised: she is very positive about the Netherlands in the series. Many Dutch people will be comforted when Miep praises her compatriots and criticizes the Germans. Well, we like that. As if the creators knew.
a little light it is of course based on real events, but of course, to create a strong drama, it doesn’t always stick to the facts. For example, husband Jan has been given a larger contribution in the series and that adds value. Many peripheral figures, especially resistance fighters, also get ample space in the series. This gives the best possible picture of the Dutch resistance during World War II.
The series is incredibly exciting from the very first scene and that tension builds with each episode. The preparation for the final episodes is very strong. And yes, the result is known, and yet we hold our breath at each new development. The question of how dominates and every detail attracts attention. Here and there the emotions are a little thick, but a little light it stays nicely dimmed at the right times.
The real Miep Gies responded to the question of whether it was not in vain because of this outcome: no, because it extended Anne’s life by two years and during that time she was able to write her message of tolerance and understanding. Without Miep, the diary of Anne Frank that went around the world would not exist. Everyone go watch this wonderful series and praise Miep Gies for her pride in her down to earth Dutchness; well, she was originally Austrian. Still.
a little light can be seen in Disney+.