Reviewed by: Carrie Rostollan
Starring: Megan Follows, Colleen Dewhurst / Director: Kevin Sullivan
The question marks the major dilemma faced by Anne Shirley in this, the sequel to “Anne of Green Gables”. Life is full of meetings and partings, and in between are many conflicts blended with the joy of living.
“Anne of Avonlea” is as beautiful a film as its predecessor, and just as memorable with its beautiful story and winning characters. Megan Follows returns as Anne, and Colleen Dewhurst continues her role as Marilla Cuthbert, Anne’s adoptive mother. Much of the supporting cast from the first film appear again as well, and everyone gives a special touch of humanity to this story.
Once again, the plot is adapted from books by Lucy Maud Montgomery. Anne has become a teacher at Avonlea School, but she still aspires to be a great writer. Rejection letters cause her to doubt her talents, however. Anne’s best friend Diana (Schuyler Grant) and also Gilbert (Jonathan Crombie) attempt to give her advice, but she takes it as personal criticism, especially when she gets an interesting pair of surprises. No, I’m not going to tell you.
Anne soon decides to strike out in a new direction, becoming an English professor for a ladies college in Kingsport, and learns to cope with rejection by the students and others both in the school and in the city itself. She develops a special relationship with Emmeline Harris (Genevieve Appleton), a motherless child with a withdrawn father. you’ll laugh and cry as you watch Anne draw Emmeline’s grandmother, Mrs. Harris (Dame Wendy Hiller) out of her crotchety old shell. It’s amazing what a little unconditional love and compassion can do.
This is the greatest focus for Biblical values in the whole film. The Bible is correct when it says that, “a soft answer turns away wrath,” and Anne demonstrates that principle over and over. Several Bible verses are quoted through the course of the story, always with reverence and respect for its authority. We see people’s lives changed for the better, because of Anne’s confident qualities of leadership. All that is left for families to do is ponder the real change that can be made in people’s lives through the work of the indwelling Holy Spirit after acceptance of Jesus Christ as personal Savior. In this “Anne of Avonlea” falls short, which I think merits the one-point deduction in the Moral Rating.
“Anne of Avonlea” contains all sorts of good things that the Bible commands us to think upon, and is a healthy alternative to today’s film fare. You know you want to see it tonight. I can tell.
Year of Release—1986