Ossus Library Index Drama Movie Index

ANNE OF GREEN GABLES

Directed by Kevin Sullivan (1985, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation)
Starring Megan Follows, Colleen Dewhurst, Jonathan Crombie, and Richard Farnsworth

An imaginative orphan girl wins the heart of a small Prince Edward Island town, and a boy for whom she holds a large grudge.

 

 

5 stars

July 1st, 2015 on DVD for the 5th time

 
    It's been a long time since I've watched this show, and it hasn't lost any of its magic. As I mentioned below, there are so many good plot points that by themselves wouldn't mean that much, but put together, they make amazing characters. The time at Queen's college seems to go by way too quickly compared to the rest of Anne's life, but I suppose it has to, because the core story is her family, not her school life. I think I will need to upgrade this film, though, because my DVD version of the movie is of very poor quality on my HDTV. It's amazing that the movie held up so well despite this.  
 

5 stars

June 11th, 2002 on DVD for the 4th time

 
    There is no other movie that can make me laugh and cry as much as I do with this one. And they don't come from situations that would normally make me laugh or cry. Anne does things and says things that make me laugh, simply because she has those romantic opinions that make her innocent, even though she could never be "angelically good". I laugh because she's so naive, because she's so innocent, and because she's so cute.

But the moments that make me cry are not necessarily the sad ones, either. Most of the tears come because of Matthew, her kindred spirit and silent solace. From the moment he gazes on her and hears her talk of spending the night in a cherry tree, he's taken. And so he convinces her to apologize to Rachel Linde because he can't bear to see her go. Anne sees that, too. And when Matthew goes to the store to buy a dress with puffy sleeves, he's too shy to actually ask for it until he's bought a rake (in the middle of winter) and twenty pounds of brown sugar! The look on Anne's face, and that on Matthew's, was enough to bring out the tears. He also stuns us and Mirella when he voices his opinion about the Christmas ball, telling her that Anne should have all of the joys that the brother and sister missed out on when they were young. Way to go Matthew, especially after seeing her save the life of Diana's baby sister! Of course, there is Matthew's death, which also brings raging tears. But I found the most memorable moment to be Anne's sacrifice because of it. When she announces her decision to stay at Green Gables, and becomes adamant about it, I was overwhelmed. Gilbert's sacrifice for her, out of love that he hopes will someday be returned, is almost as sweet.

Anne is a ray of light, an unpredictable personality in a small town that prides itself on rationality. Anne is anything but rational, though she tries hard to be. It is a complete joy to watch Megan Follows depict Anne's bright and cheerful face, or the haughty look she gives Gilbert whenever she catches him looking her way. She has an incredible development from beginning to end, most noticeably in her temper. She has managed to turn it into a sarcastic wit. Who knows what she might have done when Josie Pye insulted her at Queen's College if she hadn't. It might have been worse than another slate being broken broken, maybe a brawl, started right on campus! Instead, she returns the rhetoric with a blade as sharp as the original.

Although the DVD doesn't come with all that many extras, many of them are very interesting. I was very surprised (and disappointed) to learn that most of the show was not filmed in PEI, but in Ontario! I have not watched many director's commentaries, but this seems to be one of the best. I have only watched a small part of the commentary so far, but it is extremely interesting, to say the least. Other extras include the trailers for the two sequels and the animated series, cast biographies in text form, which were mildly interesting (though difficult to read), and a few photo montages.

The screen tests of Megan Follows were kind of neat for a while, but often became repetitive. The missing scenes were very interesting, having been aired in Germany but never in Canada, mostly because they featured European actors. The acting was not as great as in the rest of the film, so I understand why they might have been cut, however, they add a few nice touches and another kindred spirit to Anne's life. It might have been better to present them as separate chapters, though, instead of a single one.

The sound was amazing, compared to the video version, which makes all the difference, and the DVD is worth it just for that. However, if the director's commentary remains as interesting as in the first few chapters, it will definitely be the highlight of the extras.
 

 

5 stars

February 29th, 2000 on Video for the 3rd time

 
   

Anne is the most realistically portrayed girl in film, I think.  She is bumbling at times, and she lives in her own world almost all of the time.  Her attitude towards Gilbert is just perfect, even after he saves her from under the bridge in the river. 

Anne is a small town girl, who gets along with everyone.  She does things her own way, and she often gets in trouble for it, because she doesn't pay attention to the people and things around her.  The story brings laughter and tears, and a sense of dread after every turn.  We are never sure if something she does is going to bring her pleasure or get her in trouble.  And that's the beauty. 

You can feel exactly what Mathew is thinking when he can't leave her at the train station, after seeing her wide-eyed innocence, and the expressions on her face when she sees the beautiful countryside. 

And it makes you look at everything differently after hearing Anne prattle on about how something should have a different name, because the one it has doesn't suit it, or her opinions on how romantic or unromantic it should be when you die.  An especially funny scene takes place after a mouse drowns in a pudding sauce.  She thought that there might have been less romantic ways for a mouse to die!

The supporting cast is also great.  Mirella is the perfect mix of strict old maid and sympathetic ear.  Bussom buddy Diana is just as romantic as Anne, but she has a more firm footing in reality.  Rachel the gossip is one that we love to dread seeing.  Diana's rich aunt is a joy to behold as well, gaining pleasure just from Anne's presence. 

Finally, Gilbert would chase Anne to the ends of the Earth, but after he called her Carrot in class, and got his slate broken over his head, she would never forgive him, no matter how hard he tried to patch things up.  In the end, of course, with Mirella's help, he manages to get her to call a truce.  He even gives up his position as Avonlea teacher for her.  We all know that she's in love.  She just doesn't realize it yet. 

The pace of the show is very relaxed.  We get to watch Anne grow up, in the three years that she is at Green Gables.  She is the smartest person in the school, and she doesn't have time for romance, even though she loves all romantic notions.  We get to see the town of Avonlea go from wary around her (and even actively disliking her), warm to her, and then embrace her with all its heart.  The turnaround is realistic.  But I don't think there is anyone who Anne couldn't warm to her!

Last, but not least, there is the silent performer in this show: Prince Edward Island.  It is so beautiful, and Green Gables is so peaceful, that it holds the movie for entire scenes.  There is no need for anybody to talk (even though Anne must talk enough for all of it), but just to ride around and enjoy the scenery. 

It seems that the childhood struggles are over, but Anne still has a lot of growing up to do.  That's why there are two more parts to this series.

 
   

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