Basic Summary – Now 18, red-haired Anne leaves Avonlea and Gilbert Blythe to teach in Kingsport and find her ideal man.
Anne of Green Gables: The Sequel (or Anne of Avonlea as it is also called) continues the story from the original Anne of Green Gables in 1985. The story follows Anne as she has become a wonderful teacher and has been transferred to a women’s school to teach English and “break” the social order in the town she is in while also focusing on her mission to become a famous writer. Similar to the first, it keeps the story focused on Anne as she matures and goes on many adventures and learns a very important lesson.
Marilla’s influence on Anne and overall presence – along with Diana’s – in the sequel is diminished to a minor role during the first half of this production and a cameo at the very end of the production. She is only there at the beginning when Anne is considering going off to teach, but doesn’t want to leave Green Gables and at the end when Anne returns to Green Gables and hears of Gilbert’s untimely illness. Although disappointed with the drop of importance placed on Marilla’s character, it kept the story where it was meant to be since there wasn’t more Marilla could teach Anne about growing up.
This is the first production that provides a story away from Avonlea and puts us in a more city environment where Anne has become a teacher at a prestigious women’s school. She has to deal with an upper-class that practically rules the town she is in and breaks the structure they have in place. In addition to the new setting, they introduce a new potential love interest for Anne, although she thoroughly despises him majority of the film – more than Gilbert – and he doesn’t add to the storyline.
While the first Anne of Green Gables focused on Anne’s development from child to young adult, this one follows her young adult life and understanding what is love and how to love another. If the first film didn’t emphasize the
romance, the sequel does basically every chance it gets. Though I haven’t read any of the following books to Anne’s story, I feel as the sequel focuses too much on Anne understanding what is love. Gilbert tries at almost any chance he gets to propose to her once both Gilbert and Anne older and their friends begin to marry and Anne refuses every time – usually by running off and away from it. Eventually, Anne agrees to marry Gilbert after witnessing Gilbert on his “deathbed”. She understands that though she may not like the idea of being tied down, she cannot afford to lose Gilbert in her life.