Anne of Green Gables

TV review by
Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
Anne of Green Gables TV Poster Image
New take on plucky book heroine offers great messages.

Parents say

age 7+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 8+
Based on 2 reviews

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The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Educational Value

The story gives viewers a glimpse into life in the 19th century through the characters' experiences.

Positive Messages

This story is rich in family-related themes, most prominently the idea that family itself is a dynamic concept. Middle-aged siblings Marilla and Matthew don't consider themselves parenting material, and precocious Anne is no cookie-cutter kid, but the three define "family" on their own terms. Anne learns lessons from her many mistakes, but adults do, too, on a couple of occasions. Common themes include friendship, imagination, and curiosity, plus gratitude for the simple things in life. More serious issues like violence and the death of parents are dealt with in thoughtful ways.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Anne can be impulsive, which gets her into trouble but also teaches her lessons that she uses to become a better person. She's honest to a fault, imaginative, and curious about everything, as well as deeply loyal. Marilla and Matthew prove wonderful parents to Anne in their own way. Some supporting characters can be judgmental, impish, and flighty.

Violence & Scariness

Flashback scenes give viewers glimpses of Anne's past, which includes some violence. In one home, a man smashes windows and yells at his wife and kids. In an orphanage, a woman uses physical punishment like slapping hands with a ruler and pinching Anne's ear. There also are some perilous moments when Anne falls through the ice on a pond.

Sexy Stuff

Sex is discussed using a metaphor of a man having a "mouse in his pocket" that gives a woman a baby after she "pets" it. 


This reboot is inspired by a classic novel, an '80s-era movie, and many TV series.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

One classic scene shows Diana indulging in wine by innocent mistake, thus getting drunk and stumbling her way home.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Anne of Green Gables is another take on L.M. Montgomery's classic book about the iconic red-headed orphan. Like the beloved 1985 movie, the story centers on a spunky, imaginative girl who finds an unlikely home with two middle-aged siblings in a small Canadian town. The content is mostly kid-friendly, though Anne's friend does accidentally get drunk, and a number of flashbacks into Anne's past hint at violence, physical punishment (Anne's hands are slapped with a ruler, for instance), and other unpleasant living conditions. Ultimately, though, it's Anne's spirit and perseverance, and the story's superb messages about family, friendship, and love, that stay with viewers long after the movie's end. 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 8 and 10-year-old Written bymwhitmoe January 16, 2021

Terrific family entertainment, especially for young girls

Great adaptation! My 8 year-old daughter loved it. My 10 year-old son would not give it a shot, which was discouraging, but understandable.
Parent of a 10, 12, and 15-year-old Written byHendo H. U December 28, 2017
Teen, 14 years old Written byIamagirl02 April 28, 2020

I love this adaptation!

I don't know why people don't like this adaptation, I thought it was really good. It is a very sweet show, and, a lot like the book. The acting was re... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byA.Ham May 24, 2017

The WORST Adaptation out there


(They had makeup struggles- they forgot the freckles for half of it)

What's the story?

In ANNE OF GREEN GABLES, when middle-aged siblings Marilla (Sara Botsford) and Matthew Cuthbert (Martin Sheen) send away for an orphan boy to help them around their farm on Prince Edward Island, fortune steps in and delivers them a girl instead. But Anne Shirley (Ella Ballentine) is not just any girl; she's fanciful, imaginative, and outspoken, all of which feels out of place at Green Gables and Avonlea. As time passes, though, Anne endears herself to kindhearted Matthew and rigid Marilla and begins to find her niche in the broader community, with the help of her new best friend, Diana (Julia Lalonde). Suddenly it's as though she's been there forever, and finally having a place to call home allows Anne to blossom in new ways.

Is it any good?

Sweeping scenery, whimsical music, and a timeless story of family and friendship make this interpretation of L.M. Montgomery's classic a feel-good movie for all ages. Precocious Anne instantly wins over viewers with her chin-up attitude in the face of more adversity than most can imagine today, from being orphaned at an early age to bouncing around as an unwanted addition to one family after another and finally landing in a dreary group home. (Not to mention the lifelong sorrow of her red hair, of course.) It's no wonder Green Gables is a dream come true for her, and as she comes to find her place in it -- and in the hearts of Marilla and Matthew -- it's impossible not to root for a bright future for Anne with an "e."

This Anne of Green Gables reboot does a wonderful job introducing a new generation of viewers to this classic story set in a very different childhood from those that exist today, and it's enticing from the first few scenes. That said, fans of the acclaimed 1985 Kevin Sullivan production will find that this version toys with some aspects of the story that come as a bit of a disappointment. For one, Gilbert Blythe (Drew Haytaoglu) plays only a marginal role in this adaptation, thus downplaying Anne's grudge against him that so defines her coming-of-age story. Marilla and Matthew are noticeably reinterpreted as well, with Marilla being far less severe and Matthew significantly more extroverted here, and so Anne's winning them over is much less momentous. These and other adjustments don't interfere with this wonderful story itself, but they will be noticed by longtime fans of the version by which all others are judged, even three decades later. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • What accounts for Anne's ability to rise above her surroundings and see the best in people in Anne of Green Gables? How does her perseverance pay off? Is it difficult to be patient for a reward? What other character strengths and life skills are important to you?

  • Families can talk about the differences between Anne's childhood experience and theirs. How have basic responsibilities and needs changed since Anne's time? What parts of Anne's life seem most foreign to you? On the other hand, are there some that ring true to your experience?

  • Is Anne a good role model? What qualities are most admirable in her? How does she react when she makes a mistake?

TV details

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