Drama / Family

IMDb Rating 7.6/10 10 1223 1.2K


Top cast

Kate Ashfield as Nancy
Tom Ellis as Tim
Pam Ferris as Mrs. Snow
Amanda Burton as Aunt Polly
900.58 MB
English 2.0
25 fps
1 hr 37 min
Seeds 14

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by aimless-46 8 / 10

A Remake Better Than The Originals

This 2003 Masterpiece Theatre version of "Pollyanna" is the ultimate feel-good movie and because it is a bit less sappy than the 1960 Disney version you can enjoy repeated viewings anytime you need some cheering up. The new version is also more faithful to Eleanor Porter's original 1913 story and more focused on characterization than on elaborate set design and visual dynamics (there is no town fair and the comic relief has a more mature quality). And the setting is moved to Edwardian England with liberal use of wide angle lenses to capture the lush countryside.

The real improvement, however, is in the casting of the title character. Georgina Terry, with her red hair and freckles, projects such effortless charm that even the most cynical should be won over. Hayley Mills' performance was more forced and she was really too old for the role. Terry's Pollyanna is much more convincing, both in her continuing attachment to her father and in her struggles to play his glad game in the face of so much adversity. "I suppose it's as easy to be happy about things as to not be". This struggle was at the core of Porter's story and the 2003 version makes a real effort to construct a multi-dimensional Pollyanna who would have met with Porter's and her readers' approval.

Otherwise, the physical casting of the two movies are amazingly similar. Amanda Burton and Pam Ferris in particular conjure up vivid memories of their predecessors Jane Wyman and Agnes Moorehead. Burton portrays Aunt Polly more sympathetically, much more in line with Porter's original characterization. Instead of a ruthless and conniving queen bee, she is more hurt than mean. The tip off comes early as she amusingly allows herself to be persuaded by Tim (Tom Ellis) to purchase a motor car. Tim provides most of the film's comic relief as his prowess with automobiles is contrasted with his shy and awkward romantic overtures toward Nancy (both motor car and romance are creations of the adaptation and not part of the Porter's original story). And Aunt Polly's obsession with flies is nicely played for laughs.

There is a trade-off between the versions relative to the characters. Moorehead's Mrs. Snow was more memorable and entertaining; Ferris is not given enough material. Conversely, Kenneth Cranham (Mr. Pendleton) has more to work with than did Adolphe Menjou (Mr. Pendergast) and is not handicapped by having to share scenes with Kevin Corcoran. As in the book, the less irritating Jimmy Bean (Ben Thornton) of the 2003 version has a smaller role and there is more emphasis on Pollyanna's individual relationship with Mr. Pendleton (who was once in love with Pollyanna's mother).

The only real weakness of the Masterpiece Theatre version was the need to adapt the story to a compressed 90-minute running time. This was to some extent a mixed blessing because while there are transitional gaps, the time constraints forced them to get creative ant this led to some nice sequences. A montage of a bewildered Aunt Polly receiving a parade of townspeople extolling Pollyanna's virtues is especially good, and it nicely sets her up for a mild scolding by Nancy about not allowing Pollyanna to speak openly about her father. They also responded positively to the running time issue by jumping right into the story at the beginning (just running the titles over the scene) and by wrapping things up with an understated ending that let the audience just interpret what they were seeing.

The "Pollyanna" story has a timeless appeal for children who get off on her ability to influence adults but this film version is also a wonderful family film. This convincing story of how an 11-year-old girl's indomitable spirit positively impacts everyone around her offers enough nuances to keep adults entertained and may even elicit a few tears from otherwise cynical observers.

Then again, what do I know? I'm only a child.

Reviewed by TheLittleSongbird 9 / 10

Charming and wonderfully acted, how I wish it was longer

I am with those who does consider this 2003 version better than the 1960 Hayley Mills film, which I still liked though it did have moments where it was sickly sweet and jarred in tone towards the end. This version is charming without being cloying and much more even in terms of overall tone. The writing has sweetness and wit, and the story as well as being faithful in spirit to Porter's story has plenty of charm and heart while never over-doing it. This version looks beautiful too, all very colourful and evocative as well as lovingly photographed. The music has Christopher Gunning's usual trademark of soothing, simple melodic writing, and is suitably unobtrusive. The cast are just wonderful. Georgina Terry is never less than effortlessly charming, and she is brilliantly supported by a sympathetic yet firm Amanda Burton. Kenneth Cranham is helped by the fact that Mr Pendleton(whose individual relationship with Pollyanna is expanded upon and very movingly) is far more interesting here, and Aden Gillet's Dr Chilton is a warm handsome presence. Pam Ferris also does a fine job as Mrs Snow, even if I did find Agnes Moorhead a little more memorable. The ending is very understated and did move me a great deal. My only criticism with this otherwise wonderful version is the length, I just wish it were longer. That aside, it is the superior version and highly recommended. 9/10 Bethany Cox

Reviewed by UltimateJoolsFan 10 / 10

Way better than Hayley Mills!

This just showed on television tonight and I can't contain my joy and happiness for it. Last year mum bought the Hayley Mills version on DVD which I had used to like as a young girl but kind of stopped watching because my older sisters said it was 'so stupid and babyish.' So last year I renewed my love for Pollyanna and then I found the book in our library and read it and loved it again and again. I actually was reading it today on the bus (a different library's copy).

And yesterday mum was telling me that she saw an ad for Pollyanna that's a different version and I was so excited. I had a little pet peeve with the Hayley Mill's Pollyanna because it completely strayed from the book, though the essence of gladness is still there. I started watching it tonight and pulled out the book from my bag and read along during those enormously long commercial breaks, and well I've only seen this and the other version of Pollyanna, I'm so glad to find it so in tune with the book completely!

Amanda Burton is such a good actress and she would've been a good silent film actress with such a stunning ability to convey emotion with looks. I do think Jane Wyman did a very good job as Aunt Polly too!

Pollyanna (Georgiana Terry) was so much how I imagined from the book, except for some occurrences of storming out of the room which I thought was a bit out of character for the happy girl, and was so adorable how could Aunt Polly and everybody help but love her.

Dr. Chilton (not Chiltern) was much how I pictured him as well and had a very nice look about him.

It was all so faithful to the book, I am very very glad about that, and now I don't know how I could ever watch the other version again, though I probably will until I own this one on DVD. Yes. I shed tears at the end. It was wonderful! I'd like to think that Elanor H. Porter would be very pleased because as a Pollyanna lover I am!

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