Anne With An E: scope for the imagination in Netflix’s reworking of LM Montgomery classic
Diversity and acceptance are major themes in this 2017 adaptation of the story of the big-hearted orphan girl in a small Canadian town
• Anne With An E is streaming on Netflix in Australia. For more recommendations of what to stream in Australia, click here
I assumed I didn’t need to watch Netflix’s Anne with an E. After all, I already know the story. Doesn’t everyone? Anne of Green Gables, the story of the orphan girl mistakenly sent instead of a boy to live with two middle-aged siblings on Prince Edward Island off the east coast of Canada, was written by Lucy Maud Montgomery in 1908 and has been the subject of numerous adaptations in film, TV, radio and stage over the last century.
The recent Canadian series, however, made especially for Netflix and first screening between 2017 and 2019, successfully blends updated old and entirely new characters and plotlines. The premise of the story is the same: loquacious, highly imaginative and decidedly red-haired Anne Shirley, played to perfection by Amybeth McNulty, turns up at the small town of Avonlea to live with Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert – siblings seeking farm help but also, unbeknown to themselves, in need of someone to love.