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The Eastern Echo Tuesday, May 28, 2024 | Print Archive
The Eastern Echo

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Review: 'A Small Light' is a dramatic retelling of the Franks' story

National Geographic has a new historical drama called "A Small Light."

Introduction

"A Small Light" is a dramatic retelling of how Miep Gies and her husband, Jan Gies, hid the Franks and van Pels to resist the Nazis. In this telling, Miep, Jan, and Otto Frank are the main characters.

Synopsis

The Nazis have taken over Germany. People of Jewish decent are being harassed and abused in the streets of Germany before they are taken to camps. The Nazis ID everyone at check points in order to efficiently discriminate against anyone who's Jewish. Miep Gies has a choice-- she can sit and watch as the Nazis tear the country apart, or she can resist as effectively as she can without drawing their attention.

Highs

This retelling focusing on Miep's point of view shows us that even if we are not under attack, it is our duty, morally and ethically, to advocate for others. It is our job as humans to ensure that everyone has equal rights and freedoms. The cinematography is wonderful, and I think that the actors have done amazing jobs so far, considering that this is the first season of hopefully a few. You won't be looking at your phone and half-watching this; "A Small Light" will hold all of your attention.

Miep constantly has to evaluate her environment and even her allies. She is also put in a place where she can say "we can't save them all," or "we must do everything within our power." This provides well-written sympathy to Miep's story and also reminds us that there truly is no "try," only "do."

The beginning of each episode shows a disclaimer stating that the story is not 100% accurate to history. It's very important that viewers be reminded that, at the end of the day, this entertainment may inspire personal education, but it does not substitute a history course or museum visit about the Holocaust.

Lows

Disney+ has had some difficulties playing this title, so you may have to reach out to support in order to see the final episode. However, it does also play on the National Geographic cable channel, so you can catch it there as well.

I love seeing things through Miep's point of view, and I think it's an original way to tell an old story that's not-so-old. Regardless, I think that the focus on Miep sometimes shows a savior complex that doesn't show the resilience of the Jewish population against the Nazis and Antisemitists in general. 

Verdict

"A Small Light" reminds us of a part of history that we should never forget, and the first season blew me away.

I give “A Small Light” a 9 out of 10.