The story of Anne Frank, a young Jewish girl forced to hide in a cramped attic in Amsterdam with seven other souls during WW2, has been embedded in popular consciousness ever since her diary’s first publication in 1952. Nat Geo’s A Small Light takes the focus away from Anne and, instead, centres on a lesser-known but crucial historical figure, Miep Gies (played by Bel Powley).
Miep was Otto Frank’s (Liev Schreiber) secretary and friend, who played a crucial role in hiding the Frank family for over two years in the hidden annexe. She took care of them at great risk to her safety. The eight-part miniseries tells her tale of courage and endurance in the face of unimaginable adversity.
Where can you watch A Small Light in the UAE?
A Small Light is streaming on Disney Plus in the UAE. There is no free trial currently available for Disney Plus in the UAE, and you’ll have to sign up for it to watch it.
A Small Light review
What is the series A Small Light about?
At the start of the series, Miep is a 20-something young woman who likes to go out with her friends and has no real-life prospects. Fed up with her carefree ways, her parents give her an ultimatum – She either gets a job or marries her brother (He’s her adopted brother, so it’s not as bad as it sounds).
Despite her lack of secretarial experience, she secures employment at Otto Frank’s jam company. Over time, he becomes a parental figure in her life and she grows close with his family, who had recently relocated to Holland to escape Nazi persecution.
As life in Amsterdam becomes more dangerous for Otto and his family, he decides to go into hiding and asks Miep for help. She agrees without hesitating, despite the dangers.
A Small Light offers compelling insight into a dark past through the eyes of a young woman. In a way, the series is Miep’s coming-of-age tale. We watch her grow from a carefree girl into a person willing to risk her safety to do what’s right. As the series progresses, she’s faced with many difficult choices, including having to distance herself from life-long friends.
While the series was filmed in Prague, it does a fantastic job of transporting the viewer to 1940s Amsterdam. It shows how slow and insidious the Nazi’s effect on day-to-day life was. Miep had to get creative with sourcing food and other necessities for the Franks, which makes for fascinating viewing.
A series worth watching
Despite the show’s dark subject matter, small lights shine throughout each episode. We don’t just see the Frank family struggle, we also catch a glimpse of their humour and hopefulness. The creators do a great job at humanizing such a well-known story and adapting it for modern audiences.
Miep’s relationship with her husband, Jan, is a joy to watch and one of the show’s highlights. There’s a natural chemistry between the two actors, Bel Powley and Joe Cole, and their banter feels natural. Some of the best scenes are when both actors share the screen and somehow manage to bring humour in the most dire of circumstances.
Another highlight of A Small Light is the mentor/mentee bond between Miep and Otto Frank. He offers her employment at a time when her life wasn’t going too well. And less than a decade later, she’s in a position to repay the favour.
Billie Boullet’s portrayal of Anne Frank is yet another highlight of the miniseries. She humanizes such a famous historical figure and reminds the viewers that ultimately, Anne was just a regular teenager.
A Small Light does most things right when it comes to portraying history. The show is respectful of the real-life people and events it dramatizes, but it’s still an engaging piece of entertainment.
There’s a lot of emotional nuance in the way it tells the story and it’s probably one of the best miniseries to come out this year, so far.
A Small Light – FAQs
How many episodes of A Small Light will there be?
The series is eight episodes long. It premiered on the 2nd of May, with two episodes released weekly on Disney+
What is A Small Light based on?
A Small Light is based on the life of Miep Gies. She was one of the people who helped hide Anne Frank’s family in the attic annexe during WW2. After the family’s arrest, Miep saved Anne’s diary until she was able to return it to Otto at the end of the war.
Lori C. is an entertainment writer who studied Film and Television at University. She watches and reviews films and series from most genres, but some of her favourites include Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Charmed, The Handmaid’s Tale, Westworld, and True Blood.