In one of the rare cases where the film version does the book version justice, and where a sequel matches its predecessor, "Anne of Avonlea" continues the story of headstrong Anne Shirley as an adult, struggling as an aspiring writer and English teacher. Two suitors vie for Anne's affections while she courageously and optimistically rallies against rejection letters, indifferent mainlanders, and crotchety hearts-of-gold. Intelligent, faithful scripting and beautiful camera work, plus scores of inspiring moments. CC, 3 hours 45 min. on 2 cassettes.
This video is the sequel to the beloved children's book and video Anne of Green Gables. It continues the story of Anne Shirley, an imaginative and headstrong young orphan in 1890s Canada, whose hot temper matches her red hair. Anne of Green Gables told of Anne's adoption by an elderly brother and sister, Marilla (Colleen Dewhurst) and Matthew Cuthbert, and her childhood adventures in the idyllic village of Avonlea on Prince Edward Island. Anne of Avonlea takes up the story soon after Matthew's death, when Anne has graduated from college. It follows her struggles and adventures as an aspiring writer and English teacher in a private school on the mainland. Girls seven and older, as well as adults, will enjoy this intelligent and beautifully made film, first shown on PBS. It's filled with themes parents can discuss with their daughters--including self-reliance, generosity, and perseverance. It also gives a realistic portrayal of the situation for women during this historical period, through characters that are multifaceted and human. Anne's struggle to find her voice as a writer, to handle difficult people maturely, to stay optimistic despite setbacks, and to nurture her students are both thought provoking and entertaining. Girls will also enjoy Anne's romantic travails, as she tries to decide between two suitors: her childhood friend Gilbert, and a rich, handsome, and mysterious widower. The film is beautifully filmed, and the costumes and settings portray an idyllic time and place. The cast is excellent. Megan Follows as the spirited Anne and Dewhurst as the gruff but tender Marilla give especially fine performances. --Elisabeth Keating