Anne, now a middle-aged woman, is troubled by recent events in her life. Her husband, Gilbert, has been killed overseas as a medical doctor during World War II. Her two daughters are ... See full summary »
The King family from the Road to Avonlea television series gather together during the first World War to celebrate the holidays. The season is a time of crisis for the family this year, however, as eldest son Felix who was fighting overseas has been listed as missing in action. Meanwhile, Aunt Hetty grapples with loneliness and a potentially fatal back injury; Felicity searches for a new career; and Olivia considers moving back to Avonlea. Written by
Jennifer Erin Fuhrman <Jenn328708@aol.com>
This is a reunion special that takes place two years since the final So dear to my heart avonlea. See more »
The movie depicts the events of the first Christmas of the War in December 1914, before which time Felix goes missing in action in battle during an attack. But the first battle of the War in which Canadian land forces were engaged was Neuve Chapelle in March 1915, and the first battle in which Canadian land forces participated in an attack was Second Ypres in April 1915. See more »
Head high, shoulders back, purpose firm, and never slack.
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So when "Anne of Green Gables" and "Anne of Avonlea" hit PBS way back in the late 80s and early 90s, I was very much impressed with how well shot a miniseries both films were. I was not a "fan" as such, as I had only heard of the books in passing, and didn't know much beyond Sullivan's visual interpretation. But like a fine film by Kurosawa or Coppola, I felt compelled to watch both.
And then there was a TV series called Avonlea or Road to Avonlea, and apparently all but Megan Follows' Anne are present. Well, tempting as it was, I begged off on watching the series. But after Thanksgiving of this year I was in the mood for a Christmas movie, and so I took a chance on this film.
I mean it had the supporting cast from the two Anne films a couple decades back, and I recall them being pastorally upbeat in an old-fashioned turn-of-the-century kind of way, so why not take a chance? Eh, I don't recognize more than two of the characters, I don't understand the whole connection with the war, the young woman from the shop apparently has issues, and I'm just lost as to who, what, where, when and why.
I was expecting a 1900's frolicking romp of a film with people overcoming small interpersonal challenges that are fun though seem to rouse passions in a very everyday sort of way a-hundred years back.
But that's not what this "film" is about. It's essentially another episode installment of the series though it's billed as a stand alone film.
The production values are top notch, but the spirit of young boys and girls and their parents interacting with one another in a very positive and explorative way, is lost. Anne of Green Gables may have been somewhat sugar coated, but it was a good kind of sweetener that uplifted the spirits as Anne broke her chalk slate over Gilbert's head, or when Marilla discovered Anne had dyed her hair green. Here we get a lot of pathos and angst regarding world events (the First World War is afoot) and abrasive manifestations of the previous world that Sullivan had created.
Still, it's a window into another time, although I think the problem here is that for all the attempts to keep things normal during wartime, people didn't have the perpetual highs and lows demonstrated in this piece. I think if Sullivan wanted to create a grittier or more true-to-life historical drama, then the Norman Rockwell clean sets need to substituted for sets that more accurately reflect a non-idealistic post-Edwardian township. Take away a lot of the adornments, shoot using natural light, tone down the performances, and use a few more dramatic close and long shots.
As it is now we have this odd mix of styles that tries to hold onto the façade of "things are good, even in wartime, and even with people under stress" presentation. Buildings were not always clean, nor the roads, mud, slush, dead animals, burnt pieces of broken wood, and everything that goes with life in the 1900s might have added more of the atmosphere that mister Sullivan was searching for.
An interesting effort, but I think you need to see the series before watching this film.
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