This five-part BBC miniseries of The Diary of Anne Frank is a more relatable, faithful adaptation of the legendary diary than the classic 1959 movie. As portrayed by Kendrick (who looks quite a bit like the real Anne), Anne is still as energetic and upbeat as she is in previous depictions, but she's also moody, self-absorbed, jealous, and believably 13, 14, and 15. Anyone who has read the diary knows that Anne isn't perfect or a martyr, as the media can sometimes portray her. She was a fiery teenager who could be petulant and unkind but also incredibly optimistic and insightful. Kendrick captures that untamed spirit, and it's refreshing that she's not distractingly beautiful like Millie Perkins from the original Hollywood movie, or Natalie Portman, who played Anne on Broadway.
In keeping with accurate descriptions, Mr. Dussel is not depicted as bumbling or clueless about Judaism the way he was in the '59 adaptation. Peter and Anne's romance is also believably displayed as a matter of hormones mixed with proximity and not a passionate, "true love" type of relationship.
Endorsed by the Anne Frank Foundation, this BBC mini-series does not make any controversial revelations, like the award-winning 2001 made-for-TV movie Anne Frank: The Whole Story, which claimed the Franks were betrayed by a factory maintenance worker. It is faithful to the original text, without shying away from Anne's unkind descriptions of the other inhabitants or her mature musings about her changing body and her early-adolescent sexuality. Scenes with Anne and Margot are particularly touching, because despite being incredibly different (Anne's impetuous, interested in Hollywood celebrities and being the center of attention, while Margot does her academic work religiously and is quite gentle and serious) they grow to become each other's (save for the diary) deepest confidants. Families interested in a realistic but still stirring depiction of life in the secret annex should check out this BBC production.