Anne With An E is a new Netflix Exclusive series which is based on Anne of Green Gables. I just finished watching the first episode, and I have so many things to say about this show, I don’t know where to begin. So I’ll start with why I started watching it.
I was initially introduced to Anne of Green Gables through the Kevin Sullivan series of films based on the books, as well as his spinoff series also based on the books, Road to Avonlea. Road to Avonlea is perhaps my favourite TV series of all time, as well as the accompanying movies.
Anne With An E clearly draws inspiration not only from the original book, but also from the Sullivan series. For example, here is Marilla Cuthburt in the Sullivan films/show, played by Colleen Dewhurst.
Now here is Marilla in Anne With An E, played by Geraldine James.
There’s other examples, but I’m having trouble finding them in image search. Point is, this feels like an updated version of the franchise I know and love. Even though they’re based on the same source material, they could have very well changed the look of everything and made it look completely different, but they look similar enough that I pretty much knew what everything was right away.
Yesterday I did a short Facebook post about the Murder on the Orient Express remake that recently came out. It’s relevant to this, so I’ll just copy and paste the text of that post below…
I just finished the new Murder on the Orient Express (which I’ll call OE17) . Last night I watch the original 1974 version. After watching OE74 I was wondering why they would even bother doing a remake. It was pretty much perfect. The dialogue, the casting, writing, etc. It all worked almost perfectly. So why even bother remaking it? The only reason you should remake something is if you are going to bring something new to the story, even if it’s just modernizing it. Well, OE17 still took place in 1934, and they changed very little of the story. I’m a little conflicted here, because I can’t decide which of the two I prefer. While OE74 was the better film in regards to star power and everything listed above, OE17 is definitely more interesting. Both visually and cinematically. They don’t just stay on the train the whole time, they actually get out and walk around. Even the climax of the film, when he reveals what actually happened, takes place outside of the train. So they did change things, but it’s still the same story. This is why I keep seeing so many critics calling it a bad film, because it’s just telling the same story. However, it is presented in a different manner than previously. Does that make it a necessary remake? No. That’d only be if it was modernized, which would have been weird because passengers trains aren’t nearly as common these days, and I think the story only works in the 1930s.
So I guess I give OE74 a 9 out of 10, and OE17 an 8 out of 10. I liked both films, but the original slightly more.
The reason I bring up my review of an unrelated film is because this could almost be seen as the same thing. Anne With An E is literally just a remake of Anne of Green Gables. It hits the same beats, and even is word for word at times.
However, this is totally different because it’s in the form of a TV series. Instead of cramming everything into an hour and a half or two hours, they get to spread it out over several episodes. And I don’t think they finished the story, because in my research for this post I found that they’re doing season two. So that tells me that they’re taking this story and expanding on it. Which is something the Orient Express remake didn’t do.
Another thing I loved about this is that every frame is gorgeous! I was wanting to include pictures, but they’re proving harder to find than I was expecting, and I can’t seem to take screenshots on Netflix. It literally blacks out the video when I try
So since I can’t show off how gorgeous the visuals looks, I’ll talk about the second greatest thing about this show. Amybeth McNulty as Anne Shirley. I’ve never heard of her before this, but I want to see her in everything from now on. She has a true talent, and she really is what sells this for me. Visuals are good and everything, but if you don’t have a believable lead you’re wasting your time.
She plays Anne as you know her (talkative, full of imagination, etc.), but you see a side of the character you’ve never seen before. She clearly struggles with PTSD brought on by how she was treated in the past. By families she’s worked for and the children at the orphanage/asylum. Every adaptation I’ve ever seen of this story has completely glossed over that, and to be honest I’ve never given it much thought until now. Someone, especially a child of thirteen, going through everything she’s been through since she was three months old, would definitely have at least some form of PTSD.
Amybeth portrays this perfectly. She’ll get a far off look and it’ll cut away to a flashback. Several times while watching I just wanted to reach through the screen and give her a comforting hug, because she really sells the torment this character is going through.
I’ve only seen the first episode, but I’m already so excited about this series! It’s currently available for streaming on Netflix.