Movie Review: Anne of Green Gables (1985)

Title: Anne of Green Gables
Release Date: December 1, 1985
Director: Kevin Sullivan
Production Company: Anne of Green Gables Productions | Sullivan Entertainment | TV-60 Filmproduktion | WonderWorks

I suppose in the end it was a rather romantic way to perish, for a mouse.

Revisiting another movie I loved in my early teen years.  Anne of Green Gables premiered on Canadian television as a miniseries in 1985 but I don’t think we saw it in the US until 1987.

Adapted from the famous novel by Lucy Maud Montgomery, the film tells the story of the aging siblings Marilla (Colleen Dewhurst) and Matthew Cuthbert (Richard Farnsworth) deciding to adopt an orphan to help on their farm in a rural community on Prince Edward Island.  They’re surprised when instead of boy they receive Anne Shirley (Megan Follows), an imaginative and stubborn 11-year-old given to daydreaming and romanticizing the world around her. The shy Matthew is immediately won over by Anne, while Marilla puts on a show of being a strict guardian but soon also succumbs to Anne’s charms.

Despite being made-for-TV, this is a high-quality production with gorgeous location shots and fantastic period costumes.  But the characters are the best and everyone seems perfectly cast. In addition to the three main leads, Schuyler Grant stars as Anne’s bosom friend Diana, Charmion King plays Diana’s wealthy Aunt Josephine who is amused by Anne, and Jonathan Crombie is Gilbert Blythe, Anne’s rival at school.

It’s fashionable to dismiss things for being overly sentimental, but there’s something about the warmth and sweetness of this story that I really love.  I think we need more kindness and imagination in our world, not less.  Which is why I aspire to be Matthew Cuthbert as I grow older.

Rating: *****