This week’s theme is “literary adaptations not just for kids” (I know, I am so fabulous at coming up with something new all the time) and I am very excited to talk about this particular show. I was pretty late to the bandwagon, but Anne with an E definitely needs to be talked about at one point or another.
This, by far, isn’t the first adaption of the Anne of Green Gables book series, however, Netflix really managed to give it a fresh take with a fantastic young cast and extraordinary detail concerning the set and costumes. So far there is one season, but production for the second one has already started in November 2017. Again, I have not read the book (BUT I have ordered it – progress! But seriously, Anne of Green Gables just wasn’t really a thing in my country, so you can’t blame me for not knowing it.), but I have heard that there were some changes made to the original narrative as well as tone, probably to fit into the darker and more drama-filled TV landscape of today.
Anne with an E chronicles the adventures of a young orphan girl as she finds a new home, love and friendship on Prince Edward Island during the 19th century.
Okay, I have to admit that I started watching this because I missed Canada. I am not sure how much sense that makes, considering the time this is set in and that Canada is huge and I wasn’t actually in that part of the country, but I still got the vibes that I wanted. Anne with an E is such an easy show to fall in love with. The visuals are simply stunning and no one on this planet can tell me that this isn’t the most stylish adaptation of the source material yet. But it really shines because of how emotional and gripping it is. Thinking back, I don’t believe there was a single episode where I didn’t need tissues.
As I mentioned above, there were some changes made to the story and that resulted in the show getting edgier than the books. In my opinion, this added greatly to the realism and the exploration of Anne’s past. Having said that, I don’t want you to think this is a super dark show, because it definitely is not. Anne with an E is a beautiful visual treat with a slow pace to accompany the gorgeous cinematography. You will laugh and cry, both out of joy and sadness.
I also really want to applaud all the actors and actresses involved in this series. Netflix always manages to pull amazing young talent out of seemingly nowhere (at least it feels that way for me), but the adults really hit home with me as well. The performances (aside from a very theatrical Anne at times) were so quietly convincing. It’s all a big part of what makes Anne with an E so charming.
Overall, I just really enjoyed the themes that were explored on the show. It is about all kinds of things, each of them relatably portrayed even with the very different setting from our world today. It is about growing up and finding that place called home. The adoption process and Anne’s background were an emotional roller coaster for me and her continued fight to be heard and accepted was so very inspiring. It’s about poverty and friendship. It’s about first love, loss and grief. Also, there’s a real feminist element to everything Anne does and I love her all the more for it.
Lastly, the show has an amazing theme song “Ahead by a Century” by the Tragically Hip, which doesn’t just fit the vibe of the show, but is another celebration of Canadian culture.
I could talk about Anne for days. She’s quirky, charming, smart, wonderful, has the biggest capacity for imagination I have seen on screen and probably knows more complicated words than me. She can also be overly dramatic and a real scene stealer, but I guess that is what makes Anne so very Anne. Even when I will admit that it can border on the point of being a tad annoying behaviour, Amybeth McNulty really made that role her own and I cannot imagine that being easy at such a young age. However, I feel like this part of the post is not just here to feature the main character and that is why I want to talk about Gilbert Blythe.
Gilbert is the guy everyone loves, except Anne. Even though the poor boy immediately takes a liking to her, Anne feels like he is just making her life harder and that’s true even if he never intended for that to happen. He is kind, smart, confident, incredibly cute (except when he pulls girls’ pigtails) and most importantly he doesn’t judge people by where they are from but rather who they are.
He is an overall good guy and doesn’t give up on Anne so easily, but rather uses her aversion towards him to start an academical rivalry he knew she wouldn’t be able to resist. I hope you can see where I am going with this, but it’s the perfect set up for enemies to lovers/the hate-to-love-trope. I adored seeing how Anne slowly changed her view of Gilbert and through that her feelings for him. I am really looking forward to where this is going in the future (although everyone who has read the books already knows, but the journey still counts!).
So, in the end, I don’t know how this show will fare with people who absolutely adore the books. I went into it pretty unknowing and that might have been the best way to watch the show. After all, there are changes! And they aren’t just minor ones either, but I still think that this show is like a piece of art that should be appreciated anyway.
Did you watch Anne with an E? Did you read the books? What are your thoughts? Let’s chat! (Bonus question: can you guess which show I will talk about on Friday?)