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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Anne of Green Gables: Fire & Dew is the third and final installment in the PBS series inspired by L.M. Montgomery's plucky book heroine. This movie follows Anne as she leaves home for the first time and begins making adult decisions, so the story has a slightly more mature feel to it than the previous titles did. The death of a major character yields some emotional scenes and forces Anne to make a difficult choice, but in doing so, she affirms the story's exceptional messages about the bonds within nontraditional families. As Anne's relationship with Gilbert evolves, there's the suggestion of romance (but nothing physical) between them, and many of her peers seek mates as well. This classic story is a feel-good pick for families.
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What's the story?
The continuing tale of a spunky redheaded orphan who charms her way into the hearts of her adopted family and Avonlea friends concludes in ANNE OF GREEN GABLES: FIRE & DEW. It opens with Anne (Ella Ballentine) at the precipice of adulthood and inspired anew by her beloved teacher Miss Stacy's (Natalie Lisinska) urging to take the entrance exam for Queens Academy in Charlottetown. So begins a new chapter in Anne's life, one filled with changes like moving away from Green Gables and her kindly guardians, Marilla (Sara Botsford) and Matthew (Martin Sheen), tackling even more challenging classes, and vying with her (almost) boyfriend, Gilbert (Drew Haytaoglu), for the coveted Avery Scholarship. But when tragedy strikes at home and the fate of Green Gables hangs in the balance, Anne must reflect on her priorities and make a difficult decision about her future.
Is it any good?
Plucky literary heroine Anne never disappoints with her passion for life, and fans who have watched her grow up in this trilogy's first two titles won't want to miss this heartwarming conclusion. Ballentine continues to own her title role, doing Montgomery's beloved character proud with her work as a maturing (and notably less chatty) Anne. The challenges she and her family face in this story -- financial uncertainty, life-altering decisions, and an emotional loss -- are weightier than before, but Anne perseveres with predictable determination and spirit.
Anne of Green Gables: Fire & Dew continues to depart from the classic Kevin Sullivan films and Montgomery's writings in some key areas (a necessity for continuity in this reboot's storyline, of course), and to rush through elements of the tale that would benefit from a little more development. In particular, viewers are left wanting a bit more of the long-awaited romance between Anne and Gilbert, which just hits its stride as the movie ends. That said, this story offers the same exceptional messages about self-discovery, friendship, family, and overcoming adversity that viewers have loved in its two predecessors.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Anne's remarkable ability to overcome adversity. Who helps her persevere through life's challenges, and how do they inspire her? What goals does she set for herself? How does she feel when her ability to achieve them is uncertain? What other character strengths do you see in her?
How do you think Anne would define "family"? Do family bonds extend beyond the walls of a physical home? What people in your life aren't family in the traditional sense but feel that way to you?
Anne faces loss in different forms in Anne of Green Gables: Fire & Dew, including the death of a loved one and the change of her plans for the future. In what ways do these life changes inspire her to make some difficult decisions? Is grief a necessary part of life? How do you cope with difficult emotions?
- In theaters: July 1, 2017
- On DVD or streaming: September 18, 2018
- Cast: Ella Ballentine, Sara Botsford, Martin Sheen
- Director: John Kent Harrison
- Studio: PBS
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Book Characters, Friendship, Great Girl Role Models
- Character strengths: Perseverance
- Run time: 88 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
- Awards/Honors: Common Sense Selection
- Last updated: September 20, 2019
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