A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this sequel to the excellent Anne of Green Gables miniseries is less faithful to L.M. Montgomery's original books than the first movie but captures their spirit well enough to entertain loyal fans. Anne, as always, is an imaginative, enthusiastic, hardworking role model for girls; her impulsiveness sometimes leads to confrontations and mistakes, but she learns from her errors and always means well. There's more romance in this movie than in the first one, including a few embraces, but nothing at all iffy. Expect a few tense scenes and exchanges (including one featuring corporal punishment) and one character's serious illness, but no real violence.
What's the story?
Based on L.M. Montgomery's novels Anne of Avonlea, Anne of the Island, and Anne of Windy Poplars, ANNE OF GREEN GABLES: THE SEQUEL picks up the impulsive red-head's adventures a little bit after where Anne of Green Gables left off. Now a teacher herself, Anne is also an aspiring writer, penning romantic short stories and dreaming grand dreams. But after her best friend, Diana Barry (Schuyler Grant) gets married and her friendship with Gilbert Blythe (Jonathan Crombie) takes an unwelcome -- to Anne, anyway -- turn toward sentimentality, Anne leaves Avonlea to take a position at Kingsport Ladies College. There she encounters hostility from the unwelcoming Pringle clan, cold stand-offishness from Principal Katherine Brooke (Rosemary Dunsmore), and romantic interest from dashing, wealthy Morgan Harris (Frank Converse). In her own inimitable style, Anne faces all of her new challenges with good humor and grace ... but is she living the life she really wants?
Is it any good?
Despite the fact that this sequel strays much further from Montgomery's source material than its predecessor did, the movie has earned legions of loyal fans for good reason. Follows again portrays Anne with spirit and charm; whether she's in the depths of despair or the heights of joy, her Anne is sympathetic and relatable (if perhaps a bit artificially eloquent at times). Her co-stars are, for the most part, equally skilled -- Colleen Dewhurst is the perfect mix of tart and kind as Marilla, and Crombie is appealingly earnest as Gilbert (his heartfelt Canadian "sorey"s to Anne remain some of fans' favorite moments in the movie).
The movie's Prince Edward Island settings are absolutely beautiful, the score memorable, and the romantic moments both sigh-inducing and innocent enough to be completely age-appropriate for even young tweens. Loyal fans of the books may not like some of the liberties that filmmaker Kevin Sullivan has taken with the plot (particularly in the Kingsport sequences), but ultimately the movie stays true to the spirit of both Anne and the novels, and there's a lot to enjoy here.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Anne. Is she a role model? How is she different here than in the first movie? Can you think of any real people like her?
If you've read the Anne books, how does this movie compare? Which do you like better, and why? If you haven't read the books, does watching the movie make you want to?
Why do you think the filmmakers might have changed some details from the books?
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