So this isn’t a “book review” exactly, but a review of the new Netflix remake of the beloved Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery. Needless to say, I watched it with severe hesitation as the book itself is my favorite book of all time (I reread it every summer and have been since I was 11 years old!) and lives were deeply impacted and changed by the Megan Follow’s movie version. However, with my college bestie at my side, a bottle of wine, and truffle salt & lime popcorn, we approached this reboot with optimism and a chance for Netflix to show us their “scope of imagination.”
Right away – LOVE the intro song. “Ahead by a Century” by The Tragically Hip. Definitely hip. Aptly named.
As for content – I spent the first episode just trying to accept the new cast and scenery. I think the actors breathe new life into their parts. I especially like who they picked for Marilla and Gilbert. Which is a HUGE compliment on my part. Jonathan Crombie was THE Gilbert and he embodied the many reasons why we adore that character and accept his worthiness for Anne in the very end. Lucas Zumann brings a humbler, more serious side to the character, while keeping his charm and his heart on a sleeve for his Anne-girl. The actress who plays Anne, Amybeth McNulty, brings a fresh perspective to the character – HOWEVER – she lacks the “dreaminess and romance” in her delivery that needs to be there. I’m not inspired by her. She also uses the same “big words” throughout the series. I think it’s more of a case of poor writing and direction, than acting.
Overall, it took me the whole series to figure it out – they have all the actors talk like they would today. Sure, they have some language that was time-period based, but it’s the way they talk and delivery that is super recent that throws it off for me. And goodness, they took EXTREME liberties with the plot line. About 3/4th of it never happened in the books! I do love the depth and back story to give the character new life and more understanding, but they really deviated to make it more dramatic and dark.
Anne is melodramatic – the tale is not… meant to be
I think the above quote from reviewer Megan Leigh sums it up best (Check out her scathing review here!). No, I was not in the depths of despair over the remake, I think the reason everyone loves the story is the magic. You feel the joy and the optimism and the HOPE lifted off each page as you read the book and the OG movie just absolutely captures that essence and brings it to life. Anne is still my heroine and I will definitely embark on another journey with her again this summer. Moral of this story: READ THE BOOK!