Disney+ has just released the first two episodes of the new miniseries, A Small Light. This stars Bel Powley, playing a younger Miep Gies, one of the people who helped hide Anne Frank in the war.
Miep Gies was one of the people who helped Anne Frank and her family hide during World War II and this miniseries goes on to explain her own story whilst including the events leading to the war. Overall, it has received mostly positive reception from critics so far. Whilst it gives a few laughs now and then, with the cinematography and the music, it gives a realistic portrayal of the period to help engage with the story.
The episode is first shown as a flashback to the present time in the episode and then a flashback to how everything happened. It’s such a clever play to see how each character ended up in their position. It begins to show how the story was brought together and how the characters were comprised eventually.
As we know, Disney+ almost always includes fictional series. Many shows, films, and cartoons take place during the present day and portray any past event in a comedic manner using props and costumes. With A Small Light, however, there is more validity because it portrays a real and serious event that affected people and has a message of people getting to learn a story. This historical exploration guides us away from the sitcoms and cartoons we often see.
Who is Miep Gies?
The history is important but the show centers on Miep Gies. Miep was one of the people who hid Anne Frank and her family during the war. In the 1st episode, we see her first encounter with Otto Frank, played by Liev Schreiber, and with time, they gradually become closer. Whilst Miep reveals her insecurities, Otto reveals his own. This act of trust leads him to depend on Otto asking her to help the family leave for safety. We get to see a younger Anne Frank, her sister Margot and her mother avoiding the tension of the war.
Her most significant qualities are support and dedication Miep shows towards the Franks. It helps the audience to connect with her story and understand her struggles rather than just from Anne’s perspective. But her most valuable trait is her bravery. Miep is further described as a woman empowered to speak her mind. This boldness and bravery has helped her develop so many things from a relationship with her husband to a bond with a new family. From the first scene as she leaves with Margot, Powley uses her tone of voice to express Miep’s determination, defence and empathy. We also get to see how this helps her to deal with the conflicts within her life from the pressure based upon her family to her insecurities to arguments with her husband.
This isn’t just a story about her protecting the Franks family. It’s more so about her own struggles and how she gradually starts to overcome them.
Who Plays Miep?
Bel Powley plays this lead role, recently known for being in, “Everything I Know About Love”. Before she was any other adult in the present day, she is now a key figure in history. From the trailer, her acting has shown to be engaging and realistic as if it were the present day. Seeing the full episodes on Disney+ as a series takes a whole new level into this. Her elegance and self-assurance are what guide the show along with her curiosity and determination. By the end, we also see her vulnerability when she departs from her husband. This is the most impactful scene of the episode, expressing her loneliness and love for him. We’re looking forward to her next performance to further astound us in A Small Light.
What Comes Next?
Many have already seen the results of A Small Light. With the first episodes premiering, it makes us wonder what comes next. We can wonder if Miep ever recorded these stories for information. We can wonder if they will continue to have more flashbacks or continue to show the events from the present moment. For now, all we can do is imagine and await Miep’s next discoveries.