~Anne Shirley, Anne of Green Gables (1985)
Anne of Green Gables is more than just a movie to my family--it's a tradition. *cue music from Fiddler on the Roof* We've watched all three hours and nineteen minutes of it every New Year's Eve for the last eight years or so. We've also seen it at other sundry and diverse times, bringing my total number of AGG viewings to somewhere around an even dozen.
You will probably be shocked, floored and flabbergasted, therefore, to discover that my family quotes this movie constantly. "Twenty... pounds... of brown... sugar." "DON'T eat it, Miss Stacy!"
I could fill an entire blog post with Anne quotes, but I'll save that for the quote quiz later this week. :) Instead, I'll begin with my usual higgledy-piggledy review of all the characters and the Things I Love.
Probably my favorite thing about this movie is the way it sticks so close to the book. Certain scenes are lifted word-for-word from the novel, and as a fanatic member of The Book Is Always Better club (which may or may not actually exist, I dunno), I heartily approve of this adaptation. Which is a fact you already knew. In the little booklet that accompanies our DVD, it says that the script for AGG is studied in film-making classes to teach students about how to successfully adapt literature for the screen.
I've said this before and I'll say it again, however: the important thing in a book-turned-movie is whether or not the adaptation is true to the spirit of the novel. It doesn't have to be word-for-word perfect---in fact, I've seen some movies that were scrupulously accurate (Mansfield Park 1983, for instance) and frankly they're not so great. Literature and films are two very different species of entertainment, and you can't expect a classic novel to just bounce off its pages and onto your TV screen. It doesn't work that way.
All rambling aside, I adore this film. I adore it with great adoration, as my sister Anne-girl would say. The characters are just so perfectly cast... it's a book lover's dream come true. Anne Shirley herself, for instance.
Megan Follows plays my favorite heroine to a T. She looks like Anne, she moves and speaks like Anne, and she has that winsome charm that makes everyone love Anne. Most people know, I think, that she was 17 during filming (and therefore Anne's age was moved from 11 to 13 so it would be more believable) and I have to say that the makeup artists and costume people did an amazing job making her look 13 at the beginning and then "aging" her throughout the movie.
|See how much older she looks after her hair grows back in? And this is before she starts putting it up, even!|
|"It might be the ghost of Mr. Hammond... still looking for his lunch!"|
Matthew Cuthbert is the sweetest, kindest man ever to grace my TV screen (even more so than Mr. Jarndyce, and that's sayin' a lot). He's gentle and generous and a good listener, and though he won't talk the hind leg off a mule, when he does speak up you know what he says will be worth listening to.
|My siblings call this the "peekaboo" scene. :D|
Okay, I seriously cannot believe I got this far without dragging him into this post somehow, but we now come to Gilbert Blythe. Played to perfection (yes, I'm gushing---get over it) by Jonathan Crombie, he may or may not have been my very first literary/movie crush. (Friedrich von Trapp in Sound of Music does not count, ladies. I was nine then.)
Um, anyway, I'm not going to spend a whole lot of time on Gilbert here because I have a post planned about him, so I shall just say that I am far too amused by Gilbert's pronunciation of "sorry" and that the slate-on-head scene is one of the best. Ever.
So is this scene.
In fact, there are a ton of scenes that I love from this movie, not to mention a ton of characters that I love (Miss Stacy, Mrs. Lynde, Aunt Josephine,
|"In the end I suppose it was a romantic way to perish... for a mouse."|
|"My life is a perfect graveyard of buried hopes. That's a sentence I read once and I say it over to comfort myself in these times that try the soul."|
This movie has it all. Hilarity ("Fishing. For lake trout"), heartbreak ("I'm so proud of my little girl..."), hysterics ("Anne's DROWNING! She's drowning and we're MURDERERS....."), gorgeous costumes, beautiful PEI scenery and a happy ending. "You're lucky if I don't break one over yours... carrots. Come on. I'll walk you home."
Eleven stars out of ten, kindred spirits. If you haven't seen this yet, what are you waiting for?
More on this story and these characters will be coming either tomorrow or the day after... because, you know, tomorrow is always fresh with no mistakes in it. Yet.