Family Movie Guide: Anne of Green Gables Review

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I’m tickled to bring you the first of a long line of movie guide reviews for families.  I’ve loved sharing about how to have a family movie night with family movies and wholesome family shows.  There is a bit of a void online of thorough movie reviews for families that offer lots of details.  So here I am, an, (ahem), older conservative woman spilling the beans and sharing all the details that women REALLY want to know. Let’s get the popcorn popping, shall we?!

Movie guide details

Anne of Green Gables has been a beloved work of literature in the lives of families worldwide for nearly 100 years.

movie: Anne of Green Gables

date: 2016

cast: Ella Ballentine, Sara Botsford, & Martin Sheen

runtime: 90 minutes

rating: G

rating explanation: General Audience

available to watch:  DVDPrime Video (streaming online video)

Anne of Green Gables

In case you aren’t familiar, this is how Amazon describes the plot of the original book:

“Anne is described as bright and quick, eager to please, talkative, and extremely imaginative. She has a pale face with freckles and usually braids her red hair. When asked her name, Anne asks Marilla to call her Cordelia, which Marilla refuses; Anne then insists that if she is to be called Anne, it must be spelled with an e, as that spelling is “so much more distinguished.” Marilla at first says the girl must return to the orphanage, but after a few days, she decides to let her stay. Marilla feels that she could be a good influence on the girl and had also overheard that another disagreeable woman in town might take Anne in instead. As a child of imagination, Anne takes much joy in life and adapts quickly, thriving in the close-knit farming village. Her talkativeness initially drives the prim, duty-driven Marilla to distraction, although Matthew falls for her charm immediately. Anne says that they are “kindred spirits.” The book recounts Anne’s adventures in making a home: the country school where she quickly excels in her studies; her friendship with Diana Barry (her best or “bosom friend” as Anne fondly calls her); her budding literary ambitions; and her rivalry with classmate Gilbert Blythe, who teases her about her red hair. For that, he earns her instant hatred, although he apologizes many times.”

Movie guide discussion

The following is a loose movie guide of the film’s topics that may cause discussion with your people.  I try to watch and listen closely, but the only way to guarantee that this movie is suitable for your family is to preview it yourself.

intimacy: zero

inappropriateness: zero

language: zero

violence:  While not serious, Anne cracks a slate over a boy’s head that is teasing her.

During one of the very first conversations, a lady is warning another about the violence that orphans have brought on their homeowners.  She talks about one orphan burning down the house and about another orphan shooting everyone with a rifle and then “slitting their throats with a bread knife, even the baby.”

Anne flashes back several times throughout the movie to some pretty intense scenes: A woman slaps Anne’s hand repeatedly with a ruler while other children watch.  A woman is shown pulling Anne’s ear as she grimaces in pain.  An angry husband throws a plate on the floor and shatters it while Anne and the wife hide under the table.

use of substances:  Anne accidentally gets her best friend Diana drunk during their tea time by giving her what she thinks is raspberry cordial but is currant wine.  It’s totally innocent but Diana’s Mom forbids her to play with Anne.

positive messages:  Learning is a wonderful thing.  There is more than one way to think about things.  There are consequences to our actions.  Keeping your word is very important.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Isn’t it just splendid to think of all the things there are to find out about?  It wouldn’t be half so interesting if we knew everything about everything, would it?  Anne Shirley #familymovies #thehowtoguru #familyfriendly #cleanmovies #anneofgreengables” quote=”Isn’t it just splendid to think of all the things there are to find out about?  It wouldn’t be half so interesting if we knew everything about everything, would it?  Anne Shirley”]Anne of Green Gables Movie Trailer

Good, bad, or in-between

The music and cinematography are simply fabulous. As a dreamer myself, I loved watching Anne get lost in her dreamy thoughts and how different personalities related to her.  Anne causes others to think outside of the way things have always been.  She reminds us that beauty and simple joys are all around us if we look for it.  Several times I actually laughed out loud, especially after Anne’s interesting prayers!

To me, the movie did not follow the book perfectly, but I expected that. Marilla isn’t as gruff of a woman and Matthew Cuthbert isn’t as quiet of a man in this movie like they are in the book.  Gilbert and Anne barely have a relationship.  Only those who are book traditionalist will mind that all the details don’t line up. The movie clearly didn’t have as much depth as the book because it’s as if they tried to cram way too much in 90 minutes, but yet left so much out.  The consolation is that it appears that the sequel movie goes more in depth and fleshes out what needs to be!

I thoroughly enjoyed this movie.  I liked it so much that I can’t wait to watch the sequel, Anne of Green Gables, The Good Stars.  Clean movies are hard to come by these days and this is definitely a keeper.  I hope you enjoyed this family movie guide and find it helpful!  I think you will fall in love with Anne all over again in this movie.

the sequel to Anne of Green Gables

I’d love to hear your movie guide review of Anne of Green Gables too! Share it with us in the comments.


Movie Guide showing a bag of popcorn for Anne of Green Gables Movie


Published on HuffPost, Okefenokee Living Magazine, and more, Shan is a Family Travel Journalist with a passion for helping women lose the overwhelm of planning family-friendly trips in the south. She shares travel reviews & insider secrets that Women REALLY want to know about Georgia, Florida, & the Carolinas vacations.

☕️ It’s THE REAL DEAL around here ☕️



  1. Sabrina
    March 21, 2018 / 4:54 pm

    We did like this one, though it doesn’t follow the book exactly. But as you pointed out, it’s so hard to find quality (and safe) family entertainment, I was willing to overlook it. 😉

    I can’t wait for more reviews!!

    • Shan
      March 21, 2018 / 6:08 pm

      Awe, thanks, Sabrina. Right?! It was a delightful little movie. Just found out today that there’s not only a sequel but also a 3rd movie too! Woot! 😉


  2. ShootingStarsMag
    March 22, 2018 / 8:09 am

    Thanks for sharing. I’ve never seen this one, but to be honest, I was never a huge fan of the book. That’s great it’s a fairly appropriate family film.


    • Shan
      March 22, 2018 / 9:12 am

      Thanks for stopping by, Lauren. I’ll have many more movie reviews coming! Stay tuned! 😉

      The How-to Guru

  3. candy
    March 22, 2018 / 10:16 am

    This is a true classic and everyone should see it. I read the book and really enjoyed it. Can’t wait to see the movie.

    • Shan
      March 22, 2018 / 11:15 am

      Yes, Candy, that book lives on in us when we read it, doesn’t it?! So glad you plan to watch the movie!!!


  4. PiratePrincessMommy
    March 22, 2018 / 10:16 am

    This brings back so many childhood memories. I used to watch Anne of Greengables with my Grandmother and we both loved it so much! Thanks for the memories!

    • Shan
      March 22, 2018 / 11:14 am

      Awe. Precious words. Thank you so much and you are welcome!


  5. Jordan
    March 22, 2018 / 10:22 am

    I love this idea; I hope you continue doing these types of reviews! So helpful 🙂
    (I also love this movie!)

    • Shan
      March 22, 2018 / 11:14 am

      Thanks, Jordan. You made my day with your encouragement. You never really know if what you are doing is helpful and your words push me forward. Glad you loved it too.


  6. Courtney
    March 22, 2018 / 10:57 am

    How have I never seen this movie? Thanks for the review!

    • Shan
      March 22, 2018 / 11:13 am

      Really, Courtney? I’m guilty of being WAYYY behind on movies too!


  7. Erin Haugerud
    March 22, 2018 / 11:03 am

    Oh these are great! Always looking for suggestions!

    • Shan
      March 22, 2018 / 11:11 am

      Thanks, Erin. Means a lot!


  8. Ayanna
    March 22, 2018 / 1:37 pm

    This looks like a great movie. I also like that it is based off a book. That way I could compare the two.

  9. Brandy
    March 22, 2018 / 4:11 pm

    I haven’t seen this one, I’ll have to watch it sometime.

  10. Tabbie
    March 22, 2018 / 7:18 pm

    I’m always looking for good movies to add to our family movie night list. I’ve actually never seen or read this so it will be a good one for kids and me as well! Thanks for the review.

    • Shan
      March 22, 2018 / 10:41 pm

      Awe, how exciting for your family to have something new to read and watch. I suggest always reading the book first and then seeing the story come to life together. Have fun!!!


  11. Amy
    March 22, 2018 / 10:04 pm

    I haven’t seen this new version yet, but oh! How I love Anne of Green Gables! I love everything about it SO much that I named my first daughter Anne (with the ‘e’, please notice!) Great review!

    • Shan
      March 22, 2018 / 10:42 pm

      So funny, Amy! My daughter is Anne with an “E” also! 😉


  12. Cathy
    March 23, 2018 / 9:26 am

    I have not read this book! But since you mentioned that you liked the movie so much, I really want to order it and give it a read before watching this movie. Great review!

    • Shan
      March 28, 2018 / 10:06 am

      Thanks so much, Cathy!!!


  13. Alicia Pope
    March 23, 2018 / 11:22 am

    Love movie nights!!

    • Shan
      March 28, 2018 / 10:06 am

      Yay! Us too! 😉


  14. Theresa Bailey
    March 23, 2018 / 2:23 pm

    This is a really good one for all ages! When I was growing up we loved Little Women!

    • Shan
      March 28, 2018 / 10:07 am

      Yes, Theresa. LOVE Little Women. I heard that there is a new 2018 Little Women coming out. It’s supposed to be a ‘modern’ version – I’m thinking that I won’t like that! 😉


  15. Madison
    March 23, 2018 / 5:21 pm

    This is such a great blog post idea! This sounds like a really interesting movie. I’ve never seen it but I need to check it out!

    • Shan
      March 28, 2018 / 10:08 am

      Thanks, Madison. I love writing about great, family entertainment. 🙂


  16. Jennifer
    March 23, 2018 / 6:04 pm

    I love Anne of Green Gables so much! Sad that it does not follow the book exactly. But, I will probably watch it any way as I believe my granddaughter will love it!

    • Shan
      March 28, 2018 / 10:08 am

      Thanks, Jennifer. Have fun!!!


  17. Caroline
    March 23, 2018 / 7:02 pm

    I wanted to see this one, now I definitely will!

    • Shan
      March 28, 2018 / 10:08 am

      Yay, Caroline. Enjoy!


  18. Stefanie
    April 6, 2018 / 10:02 am

    This is so nice to have for families who are looking to get a sense of what the move might entail before watching it with their whole family.

    • Shan
      April 6, 2018 / 3:29 pm

      Thanks so much, Stefanie! I enjoyed it so much and am working on another review right now!


  19. Gemille Sleweon
    April 7, 2018 / 11:04 am

    Ive never heard of this movie before, but it seems like a good movie to watch with my younger siblings.

  20. Rachel
    April 7, 2018 / 11:47 am

    This was a favorite of mine as a child!

  21. Amanda Martin
    April 8, 2018 / 12:22 pm

    So many memories of watching the original as a kid.

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