From paper to screen

Movies based on books often change the storyline


Comparing “Anne of Green Gables” to “Anne with an E” shows that some elements of the story remain but many parts of the popular book are missing from the Netflix version.

Hallie Spielman, Webmaster

Louisa May Alcott, L.M. Montgomery and Jane Austin are all fantastic authors who wrote great pieces of literature. These authors’ books have inspired movies and TV shows. However, most of the time, the movie version changes the story to make it more interesting in their eyes. 

For the most part, when a classic word of fiction is adapted for a screen, the story becomes distorted and the real story becomes lost as the new story emerges. Books that aren’t as popular as “Harry Potter” are often ignored until someone decides to adapt it for movies or TV. But why should the real book — the real story— get lost while someone else’s version of the story becomes popular? 

This is the case with Netflix’s show “Anne with an E,” which is based on Montgomery’s book series “Anne of Green Gables.” The book series is set in a small Canadian town and tells the story of a young orphan girl after she gets adopted.

The Netflix version speeds up Anne’s journey through life, seemingly missing parts of her life that impact Anne and change her. For example, in the book, Anne was never sent back to the asylum for “losing” Marilla’s brooch. Instead, Anne was punished by not being allowed to attend the Barrys’ picnic. Meanwhile, Netflix’s show had Anne sent away over the brooch incident.

When someone wants to take a beloved book series and translate it into a movie or TV show, they have to take into account that there are people who love that series and want to see it created correctly. 

Although the show is enjoyable, it is difficult to fully submerge yourself into the show when aspects of Montgomery’s work are missing or have been changed to benefit the storyline that the screenwriters have chosen to use. When beloved books are turned into movies, there is almost always going to be an audience but sometimes people just want to see incredible elements of the book, not just the screenwriters’ preferences. 

Although the main characters are present with minor changes, some of the characters in the show were never a part of the book. For example, “Anne with an E” has a character named Cole, who was never a part of the original book. 

Characters like Cole seem to be added to speed up parts of the book that took time to introduce since the author had a particular way that they would want to reveal something about someone. 

The same problems can usually be attributed to other movies that are created from books. Sometimes there are fantastic reproductions. However, other times people miss the aspects of the story that make the story so fantastic. Changing stories on the screen means that people are never going to know the real true story that the author wanted to share.