Books --> Movies

Anne with an E: A review

I know I’m late to the party on this one. But hey, anyone who knows me expects me to always be late to parties. Parties just aren’t my thing, okay? Cake is my thing. Who decided that you need a party to have cake, anyway? But I digress. Today, I want to talk about the new(ish) Anne of Green Gables reboot on Netflix.

Have you seen this yet? I watched the entire first season over a weekend a while back, and I really enjoyed it. I grew up in the eighties, and I was a huge Anne of Green Gables fan. I had most of the books, and I recorded the made-for-TV mini-series on VHS and watched it repeatedly. So of course, I couldn’t wait to see this new series when it came out.

I’ve heard a lot of grumbling about the tone of the series and how it has departed from the Pollyanna vibe of the original Anne of Green Gables television mini-series, which I also loved. Personally, I like the deeper, darker turn that the creators of this reboot took with Anne with an E.

Is it better? That’s debatable. I love both versions for different reasons. For me, that’s part of the appeal of this newer series. Anne of Green Gables the television mini-series is a great, feel-good family movie. Anne with an E is an excellent, authentic telling of the story of an orphan child who has suffered abuse and has been exposed to adult situations that have shaped her perspectives and her relationship to the world around her.

One of these renderings of Lucy Maude Montgomery’s novels focuses wholly on Anne’s future, while the other focuses more on how she has been impacted by a past that includes abuse at the hands of her so-called caretakers and bullying at the girls’ home where she has resided on-and-off since her birth.

An element of the old television mini-series that always annoyed me was the fact that Anne was meant to be “ugly,” but Megan Follows was cute as her little button nose no matter how much they tried to make her look plain. While Amybeth McNulty isn’t ugly, she does pulls off the plain, pre-teen awkwardness of the books better than Follows ever did.

McNulty is also far more annoying in the beginning of the story than Follows’ Anne ever was. During the first episode of Anne with an E, I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to stick with the series through Anne’s grating monologues. But, her trauma was made to feel so real, I was able to get past that annoying side of her character and begin to feel for her and eventually fall in love with her in spite of those flaws.

In this way, Anne with an E offers a fully developed protagonist who has me itching to watch the next season. Have you seen it yet? If so, what’s your take?

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