On Binge: Anne with An E

by Gelo Salanga

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Isn't It Amazing How Everyday Can Be An Adventure?

Anne with An E is the newest re-telling of Lucy Mond Montgomery's beloved orphan story Anne of Green Gables in the lens of modern principles and perspectives. Whilst the TV show stayed true to the literature's essence of Anne and her pure wild imaginative heart, the two-seasons series affronts modern day audiences by having darker undertones and awkward situations that may be more realistic and relatable to today's youth.

19th century, siblings Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert took in red-haired orphan Anne Shirley by mistake as the orphanage sent her instead of a boy requested by the Cuthberts to help out in their farm Green Gables at Avonlea on Prince Edward Island. Packed with a curious mind and a resilient heart, the young Anne captured the hearts of the Cuthberts and eventually the town itself through her vivacious imagination and masterful use of words - thanks to various books Anne secretly read during her orphan days such as Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre that little Anne developed a fascination and deep admiration for literature, imagination, and anything curiously beautiful. However, it is not without any hardship that Anne had to triumph on just to be accepted, with bouts of school bullying, social discrimination, gender bias, and racial prejudice, Anne showed us that: 

'You can nearly always enjoy something if you make up your mind firmly that you will'.

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As Anne tread on navigating the social expectations for 19th century adolescent youth, she also had to address her own personal struggle to deal with her abusive past in the orphan asylum wherein young Anne was subjected to ostracization, maltreatment, and violence; but leave it to Anne to still see the good in everything and believe that tomorrow will be as good as one would hope it would be. 

The charm of the series is its committed and boisterous cast led by the astonishingly endearing Amybeth McNulty as the title lead supported by Geraldine James as Marilla Cuthbert, R. H. Thomson as Matthew Cuthbert, Dalila Bela as Diana Barry, and Lucas Jade Zumann as Gilbert Blythe among others. 

The darker undertones in this newest adaptation of Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables may be too deviant for the purist fans of the sunny and optimistic Anne. However, what the show is trying to address to the young and the new generation is to open conversations on misogyny, feminism, racial equality, suicidal tendencies, traumatic stress disorder, lgbt acceptance, environmental appreciation, and a whole lot more delicate subjects often denounced as taboo during Anne's time and which are truly more present as well in our time.

As Anne progresses into revealing to the world over our own tendencies to stay silent behind injustices, the grit and perseveringly good-natured heart of Anne will always remind and teach us that:

'It’s not what the world holds for you, it is what you bring to it. All we can do is our best, regardless of what we know or don’t know'.

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'Tell me, and I forget. Teach me, and I remember. Involve me, and I learn.'

The two seasons of Anne With An E is available worldwide for streaming at Netflix