Late last night, I was looking for a movie to watch on Netflix. I wasn’t looking for any particular one and definitely not for a children movie. At least that’s what I thought when I saw the title Anne with an E and the picture on the screen of a thin and freckled redheaded girl with blue eyes. I noticed that it was a new release and thought I should give it a try.
I missed the beginning of the movie because I was still cleaning up in the kitchen but was able to catch up with the story very quickly. Without paying any special attention however, I suddenly stopped what I was doing when I saw the beautiful shades of green landscapes unfolding near the shores of an island where a man on a galloping horse was rushing through the waters. At first I thought that the movie was set in Ireland. Then, of course, I found out later that the story was taking place in Canada.
I started to listen to what was supposed to be a dialogue between a girl and the man while I was putting the dishes away. I watched them walking towards a carriage. It seemed that the man just picked up the girl at the train station. I could hear the girl continuously speaking with such unusual exhilaration and eloquence that almost did not allow the man to say a word. I was wondering if she was being herself or she was trying to impress the man. I was immediately taken by the clarity and conviction the girl was loudly expressing her thoughts that I completely stopped moving around the kitchen and started to pay attention to the story.
I had guessed she might have been around 12-13 years old. I found to be unusual for a child at this age, in a story that was written more than a hundred years ago, to speak with such self – confidence using a rich vocabulary. I thought maybe she was some child prodigy or coming from an aristocratic family background until I saw how she was dressed. Then I understood that she most likely was an orphan that was just placed in a foster home.
I became more curious to find out how and where she learned to speak in an educated and refined manner than the actual events of the movie. The girl’s name is Anne (splendidly played by 14-year-old Irish-Canadian, Amybeth McNulty). She and Matthew, her adoptive father, are “kindred spirits” who had a difficult life and had known the “depths of despair”. Although she had been bullied in the orphanage and physically abused in previous foster homes she kept her strength to detach herself from the ugliness of the world and immerse herself in places of her own imagination where everything doesn’t cease to be beautiful.
She loves to read when she has “a chance”. Her “way with words” is annoying to other children but impresses educated adults. She learned from her unfortunate life that in order to survive she had to stand up for herself every time anyone ridiculed or put her down. Anne doesn’t give up and keeps on fighting. She uses her wit to get out of difficult situations and wins over her new foster parents that learn to accept her the way she is.
She finally feels safe and is encouraged to search for her own path in life. She finds a sense of belonging and genuine happiness for the first time ever. She uses her stubbornness and “temper” to defend herself against the evil intent of adults. However, she remains open to accepting their advice and is able to discern between what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior.
Although she knows more than other children of her age and feels many times that she doesn’t “fit in” she does her best to get things right. She has the maturity to realize that possibilities are finally opening up for her future and there are many things that she still has to learn. She is not perfect but tries hard to please her new parents that immediately recognized her great potential and felt for the first time in their lives how it was to have a daughter.
Anne reminds me of myself in some ways when I was at her age. I also had to compete with boys in school, prove myself, and learn very early how unfair life was. Just as Anne, I was a fighter. The bigger the challenge the more driven I got. It was good practice that served me well later in life.
I normally read the book before I watch the movie that was made after the book. In this case I did not read the book (Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery). I understand that the movie deviates at some points from the novel. I only watched the first two episodes and don’t want to spoil it. There is a good explanation why they named the movie “Anne with an E”. Anne chose to point out the “E” at the end her “plain” name because she felt it gave her an identity, a wish she wanted to fulfill for a long time, and made her “distinguished”.
Without a doubt Anne is a dreamer. Her vivid imagination is her retreat when things go haywire. As the opening song metaphorically says Anne is “Ahead by a Century” which brings her close to our times. I believe many children nowadays and even their parents can learn from Anne. There are girls out there that can easily relate to her. We may live in a world that is more than a hundred years older than Anne’s but some stories never change. I see Anne as a strong example for young people that find themselves in similar situations and are ready to give up. The truth is that there is a lot Anne can teach us. If you haven’t read the book I highly recommend watching the movie. You will like [this] Anne. I know that I do.
Featured image and photos: www.giphy.com