Anne+: New Dutch Lesbian Web Series
Today, I can finally talk about Anne+. I have been anticipating this new Dutch lesbian web series for a long time now. Last Sunday, it premiered at the Dutch Film Festival (Nederlands Film Festival, NFF). I also watched all six episodes that day, so I can tell you all about them. In this blog post and video, you will see spoilers. I try to keep them to a minimum but I need some things to explain how I feel about the show.
Before watching this web series, I knew that every episode would center around Anne and one of her relationships. After watching it, I like how it shows that you can learn a lot about yourself through your relationships. Anne+ starts when Anne goes to college in Amsterdam and after six episodes and five relationships, she graduates and begins adult life. The episodes of about ten minutes each take you on this journey.
At this moment, no subtitles are available in their videos but on their Instagram page, they do often write in English. So, make sure to follow their Instagram and keep an eye out for a version with subtitles! Under my Instagram post, they did say they are working on their international release. The first two episodes can be found on their website; there will be a new episode every week.
Episode 1: Anne+ Lily
We get to know Anne, who is sitting next to moving boxes in her new house in Amsterdam. She needs to run some errands but then she sees her ex, Lily, with her new girlfriend. You know, precisely the moment when you do not look your best.
This is how we enter the flashbacks to the relationship between Anne and Lily. They fall for each other in high school, go to college together in Amsterdam, and are completely in love. Yet, slowly but gradually, they grow apart until they reach their breaking point.
We go back to Anne in her living room. After the encounter, Lily texts to see if they can meet up for coffee anytime soon and they agree to meet up this Sunday.
This is the introduction. Now I’m wondering: will they get back together again or is the next episode completely different and at a later time? After all, you know that every episode focuses on a different relationship but how will the series approach that?
Episode 2: Anne+ Janna
We still see that Anne is surrounded by moving boxes. That means little time has passed. Her two best friends help her unpack. Anne tells them that she saw Lily. Her friend first thought Anne was talking about Janna, another ex.
That is how we move to the second story. Anne needs excitement after the tame part at the end of her previous relationship with Lily. She finds that in Janna, who offers her parties and drugs. However, Anne doesn’t feel at home in Janna’s world. At the end of their fling, Anne is dumped for “living in a bubble.”
This was simply no match and you notice that Anne feels hurt but that she quickly recovered with the help of her friends.
Episode 3: Anne+ Sophie
In the third episode, we see Anne on the couch going through Tinder. Oh no, she sees Sophie’s profile. She was madly in love with her but the feeling wasn’t mutual.
I really liked the flirting scene. That’s when you see that awkwardness and exploring in the beginning for the first time.
Anne indicates that she thought she was quite a strong woman but that Sophie made her realize she wasn’t really. This episode offers us a twist: it goes from “what I want” to “oh no, the other person doesn’t want to so what do I do now?” This is a moment of growth for Anne, which allows you to establish a more in-depth connection to her.
Episode 4: Anne+ Esther
The episode starts with Anne on the phone. She needs a reference for an application: “Oh no, I need Esther for that.”
That leads to a flashback to the time she was an intern. As she casually says: sex with the boss, that’s really hot. She has no feelings at all; for her, it is just about sex. That is different from what we have seen so far. As a result, I think the series becomes funny as well.
Then, it turns out in (an embarrassing way!) that her boss does have feelings for her. Here, you see that she is in control again. Clearly, she is no longer upset over Sophie and you notice that she has become more mature.
Episode 5: Anne+ Sara
Sara calls when Anne is hanging a photo of Frida Kahlo. We notice that they have not seen each other for a long time. Sara is in Argentina. Anne thinks Sara super good looking and you see that she is very impressed again now. The balance is off and she immediately has a lower position.
In their flashback, Sara just doesn’t feel very lesbian. She just likes Anne, she says. Anne does value her lesbian identity much, which you have noticed all season. She doesn’t fully realize Sara’s struggles because she is just so in love. Sara is still really discovering her sexual orientation. That leads to a painful moment in public with a “F*ck off, dyke.” Then, there is one of those painful cry breakups in which you don’t want to let the other person go.
This was clearly a painful moment for Anne, right when she has just graduated and wants to start adult life. In fact, that means her student life starts and ends with a meaningful relationship that ends.
Episode 6: solely the protagonist
We now focus solely on Anne. We start the day. It’s Sunday. Anne is very busy with “real life.” The entire season, we have seen her brushing her teeth with her girlfriends but now, she is looking at herself in the mirror all alone. She also has breakfast by herself, standing at a table. She seems to be aimless.
Her parents come for a visit. They have that conversation about that life isn’t going as Anne wants and that she doesn’t know what she wants. This episode, it is also the time for the coffee date with Lily. The conversation remains uncomfortable and on the surface, while old feelings definitely play back and forth.
After watching the series
I liked the fact that her whole student life is shown from beginning to end and that it ends with big questions like ‘What am I supposed to do with my life now?’
After the six episodes, you know that you have gotten to know her through her loves and friendships and that she has also gotten to know herself like that. Occasionally, she is hurt and at other times, she experiences something beautiful. Now that she is all by herself, she wonders who she is without a girlfriend. She has often learned about herself through the other person.
This is how you end up with at a beautiful, well-rounded story with an opening for more stories and more seasons. I’m curious. If there will be more episodes, I want to watch them for sure. Will they add more toothbrushing?