No light is too small

Published June 1, 2023

The marketing poster for A Small Light, featuring Bel Powley as Miep Gies holding a lit candle

I’ve just wrapped up watching A Small Light, the series that chronicles the life of Miep Gies, the secretary and incredibly brave woman that helped hide Anne Frank and family during the Second World War. The series is incredible, beautifully made and well told, but also difficult to watch - eight episodes that chronicle the build up to the war, the hideous slide into occupation and oppression, and the terrible aftermath.

Bel Powley is Miep and does such a wonderful job. Powley has been talked about in glowing terms before but this is a role she has really made her own and shows her, and the character, in the best light. Stubborn, determined, endlessly generous, loyal and fiercely principled, you can’t help but want things to be okay. The episode where they are all getting tired, and a bit sloppy, and arguing about who is helping more, and desperately trying to keep things on the rails, it’s just heartbreaking.

The rest of the cast hold their own, of course. Liev Schreiber does a great turn as the quiet and thoughtful Otto Frank - when he comes home at the end, oof. Joe Cole as Jan is a great support to Miep and brave in his own right too. And the rest of the annex residents, as well as other extended characters all build a real picture of what life was like.

And, as always with stories like this, it’s the little slips and slides of society as they descend into facism that are the most eye-opening. The friend, Tess, who really just goes along with everything to keep peace, and retain her status, you want to be angry with her but know that many people would do the same. It’s hard to watch but an absolute must.

From what I’ve seen, the critics loved this as much as I did. Last I checked it has 100% on Rotton Tomatoes which isn’t easily done. Watch it when you can, but be prepared to rage at the injustice of it all.

← Previous Ruby red radish
Next → Blink twice