December 31, 2018  (Web Review)

Anne of Green Gables: Fire & Dew

(2018) 90 min. DVD: $19.99. PBS Distribution (avail. from most distributors).

Reviewer rating: 2.5/4

The third entry in PBS’s recent adaptation of the classic books by Lucy Maud Montgomery, Fire & Dew follows Anne Shirley (Ella Ballentine) as she does her adoptive guardians proud by achieving well in school. Siblings Matthew and Marilla (Martin Sheen, Sara Botsford) balance their worries about their savings in a shaky bank with paying for Anne’s teaching education, and the program spends much time with Anne and her classmates as they attend Queen’s Academy. As an avid reader of the complete eight-book series, I have to say that the new scenes don’t add much—including those with a boarding house lady who has a thick Irish brogue, and a contrived school dance that only serves to highlight the divide between Anne and her so-not-her-boyfriend-she-doesn’t-even-like-him peer Gilbert Blythe (Drew Haytaoglu). This is the third and supposedly final entry in the series (see reviews of Anne of Green Gables in VL Online-5/17 and Anne of Green Gables: The Good Stars in VL Online-3/18), probably because—huge spoiler alert!—Matthew dies and the series is no longer a vehicle for what has really looked more like Martin Sheen of Green Gables. Still, given the enduring popularity of the books, this should be considered a strong optional purchase. (J. Williams-Wood)