Friday, May 26, 2017

Anne with an Eeek.

We've watched the first three episodes of Anne with an E on Netflix over the last couple of nights. Increasingly it's become apparent that this is a reconstructed Anne of Green Gables, as if the writers/directors wanted to change as much as possible within the overall framework of the story, and to add in stuff that made it more 'up to date,' if that's the phrase I want.

Sadly it isn't working. Not for us, anyway. Anne, in this version, is at odds with everyone, whereas in the original story she endeared herself to people and found friends - even if at first they had to rethink their views. Anne was an original, someone whose background should have knocked her into the ground, but didn't. She rose above it.

Here, she's constantly struggling. She's almost a drama queen - albeit one who has some reason to be one - and her imaginations seem a bit cockeyed because the world keeps hammering against them, however positive she may be. Several reviewers talk about her having PTSD (which might be translated as post traumatic stress drama.)

Marilla and Matthew (both wonderfully played, by Geraldine James and R H Thomson respectively) remain much as they were, except that they have vastly more to deal with than before. Matthew even goes chasing off after Anne when Marilla sends her back because of the apparent theft of a brooch. This leaves Matthew wounded, exhausted, without funds and desperate over two or three days. Dramatic, certainly, but not true to the story.

There are flashbacks to Anne's former life in an orphanage, and with a horrible family to which she acts as servant. These are made as unpleasant as possible. And then there's the relationship her first (male) teacher is having with one of the pupils, and Anne's subsequent discussion of him having 'intimate relations.' When she tells the other girl pupils about this, they react in horror, and talk about being tainted by her. But the discussion leaves the viewer feeling queasy too. It's as if Anne has no sense of boundaries.

There are many other changes and additions - we haven't seen all of them, but they're discussed in various articles about the series, such as this one, or this.

Bring back Megan Fellows, I say, and the wonderful cast of the 1985 version, which remained much truer to the books.

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