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When it comes to entertainment, I love three things: Hallmark RomComs and Mysteries, Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals, and all things Anne of Green Gables. And I am such a hardcore Anne of Green Gables fan. It all started when I was in 6th grade when I read a snippet of the book for class. Then, my mom bought the movie (the two-box VHS movie), and everything from there spiraled into my
obsession love for all things Anne. I wrote my senior thesis on Anne of Green Gables and our wedding processional was the Anne song.
While I absolutely love Megan Follows and Jonathan Crombie, I was really disappointed in the Kevin Sullivan’s adaption of Anne of Avonlea. (We won’t even talk about Anne 3.) Anne of the Island is my favorite book in the Anne series (YES. There are MORE books than just Anne of Green Gables!) and I was highly disappointed Kevin Sullivan chose not to adapt that book and chose the book with the boring storylines, Anne of Windy Poplars (no offense, LMM!).
So when I discovered the 1975 BBC version of Anne of Avonlea, I was excited AND terrified to watch this movie. For starters, it’s not Megan Follows and Jonathan Crombie. Second, it’s a version from 1975… how hokey was this movie going to be? Well, I bought the movie off of Amazon and watched it. And I was pleasantly surprised! You really have to have the mindset of “apples and oranges.”
For the most part, BBC did a great job following the books Anne of Avonlea and Anne of the Island.
- Objectively speaking, I thought Kim Braden did a wonderful job as Anne. She matches the book description as Anne. However, I love Megan Follows and love her as Anne and she will forever be “my” version of Anne.
- I also loved Philippa Gordon’s character as her character was pretty spot on with the books.
- Rachel Lynde was as I had pictured, super gossipy and nosy, yet a good friend to Marilla. (Again, no one compares to Patricia Hamilton from the 1985 movie)
- I was excited to see that they incorporated Ms. Lavender and Paul’s father’s storyline to this movie. In fact, I liked this way more than the Morgan Harris shenanigans.
- They incorporated ALL of Anne’s ridiculous proposals!
- As heartbreaking as it was, I thought the way they handled Ruby’s storyline was done well and in line with the books.
- I am thrilled that this version gives us Roy Gardner. Again, way more fun than stodgy old Morgan Harris.
- The Charlotte Morgan story arc was so funny!
- I loved how we got to see Anne’s childhood home like in the book.
The Not-So-Great Things:
- Like I said, I kept an open mind with these actors and characters… so Gilbert really had to win me over. And y’all… I really tried to keep an open mind, but I did NOT like this version of Gilbert. In fact. I hated Gilbert. (This crushes me to say this.) I really didn’t like Gilbert’s attitude. He was very pushy and I just didn’t care for him. Although they kept Anne on point with the book series, the BBC version completely changed Gilbert’s character. Not a fan!
- I wish there were more moments between Anne and Diana. Their friendship was barely focused on, but then again, it wasn’t in the books either since Anne of Avonlea and Anne of the Island really focused on Anne going away to school.
- Also, a lot of the actors in the movie had strange accents. It was almost a mix of British/Irish/Canadian/American. My problem was the inconsistency with the accents. Like one moment Gilbert sound Canadian and then the next he sounds Irish. What?
The Really-Not-So-Great Things:
- Can we talk about the weird cinematography choices?? First off, what was up with the creepy camera pan to the doll on Diana’s bed during the pre-wedding scene?? That was super creepy and almost akin to Chucky. Second, this movie was laden with bloopers… like when Roy basically catches on fire or when Anne nearly gets bonked in the head with the mic boom thing.
- I felt like I was watching a high school play because you could totally tell that nearly everything was filmed on a set. It didn’t help that the acting wasn’t the best so I really felt like I was watching a high school play.
THE WORST PART:
The ending. OH MY SOUL. This was the worst part of the entire movie. So, let’s recap: Gilbert’s basically dying and Anne goes to see him. He wakes up to her sitting by his bed, they exchange some words of love or whatever and then THAT’S IT. END MOVIE. ROLL CREDITS. DONE. WHAAAT. Once again– GYPPED OF HESTER’S GARDEN. What is wrong with filmmakers of Anne movies? Have you never read Anne of the Island, the greatest book in the series!? Plus. No proposal. No final kiss. No forever commitment.
I nearly flipped a table.
It was as though BBC ran out of money at the end of production and they were like scrimping pennies to make an ending.
If you’re an avid reader of the Anne book series, you may appreciate this movie despite the less-than-stellar acting and the weird cinematography choices. (Although, this Gilbert sure knocked this movie a couple points down!) If you’re a 1985 Anne movie diehard who’s never read anything past Anne of Green Gables, you’ll probably have a different opinion. And rightfully so. Despite my issues with Kevin Sullivan’s story choice for Anne 2, he does bring an element of magic and warmth to the movies.
I hope you all get a chance to find this movie and watch it. Let me know if you’ve seen this movie or if you’re going to find it and watch! I’d love to know your thoughts.
PS: You can get the Anne of Avonlea movie on Amazon!