Review: Anne+ The Film

Hanna van Vliet in Anne+ The Film

Anne+ The Film, from co-writer and director Valerie Bisscheroux, is a Dutch language story about a woman who comes to terms with herself. Most of the characters are lesbians and/or queer. The film is on Netflix. There are spoilers in this review.

Anne+ The Film holds its story within the trappings of a group of lesbian friends with the addition of drag kings and queens and one crucial nonbinary character. I’ll describe the plot, but the essential story is about a woman who finally figures out who she is and takes responsibility for her own life.

The film is a follow up to a 14 episode TV series called Anne+ from the Netherlands, which explains “The Film” in my description. I haven’t seen the TV series, but I expect fans of it are grateful for the film because it brings some closure to the story.

Hanna van Vliet and Jouman Fattal in Anne+

When we meet the main character, Anna (Hanna van Vliet), she and her girlfriend Sara (Jouman Fattal) are preparing for some big changes. Sara has a job in Montreal. She’s headed there. The plan is for Anna to follow within two months. The two agreed to see others in the interim, calling it “being poly.”

Anna is shopping a novel to publishers in Amsterdam. They all tell her the book is unfocused, the protagonist has no goal or purpose, and they won’t publish it.

Anna works to rewrite her book and pack her apartment so she can move. She spends a lot of time out drinking with her friends. At a drag club, she meets Lou (Thorn Roos de Vries). Lou is the nonbinary character I mentioned, a sexy drag king performer Anna is attracted to.

Thorn Roos de Vries and Hanna van Vliet in Anne+ The Film

Lou’s outlook on life, gender, sexuality, and self-acceptance are the message Anna needs to learn. They talk and talk, something Anna has not been good at doing. In fact she’s so bad at sharing her thoughts she’s never managed to tell her girlfriend Sara she doesn’t want to go to Montreal.

After many powerful conversations, Anna and Lou have sex. We see that Lou is trans/nonbinary, which was obvious from their behavior and appearance, but not something you see on screen often.

In the process of finally telling Sara the truth, moving in with friends, even back home with her dad, Anna gets it together. She produces a novel that publishers want. She gets herself figured out. The film had a happy ending – not a happy ending in a romcom sense, but a happy ending in a personal growth and happiness for Anna sense.

If you’re looking for a lesbian story with a good outcome, here it is. With bonus points for interesting secondary characters and a woman director. Amsterdam as a setting is marvelous, too.

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