A Glad Reminder
Following the death of her father Pollyanna (Georgina Terry) is left an orphan and sent to live with her stern Aunt Polly (Pollyanna) whose cold exterior makes her feared and hard to get on with, with only her staff able to cope with her strict, demanding ways. But despite the sternness of Polly and the heartbreak of being an orphan Pollyanna is full of the innocence and optimism of youth always looking on the bright side of things as she plays the glad game. Pollyanna's infectious spirit makes her many friends in the village including a fellow orphan but an accident causes a chain of events where the family past is confronted.
My only previous encounter with Eleanor H. Porter's novel is from watching the 1960 Disney version of "Pollyanna" with Hayley Mills and Jane Wyman. Now whilst the story is basically the same there is some noticeable differences between this 2003 TV movie and the Disney version most noticeably that this version is all about the characters rather than the actors and the set design. It makes it very different as whilst the Disney version was an impressive production thanks to the wonderful sets and costumes this version is more about the skill of the actors to bring those characters to life.
But before I get to the characters the 2003 version of "Pollyanna" is as infectious as the 1960s thanks to the wonderful story by Eleanor H. Porter. The simple story about a young girl with a positive and happy outlook on life is not only charming it has this ability to make you think, why not, why don't I just try to be happy and look on the positive side of things rather than being negative.
But as I said this version of "Pollyanna" rather than being about impressive sets and costumes is about the characters starting with Pollyanna herself with Georgina Terry doing a fantastic job of making this young girl real. She brings the infectious positivity and curiosity of the character yet at the same time shows that behind the smiles this young girl is struggling with the loss of her father and the upheaval of moving to live with her Aunt. Talking of which Amanda Burton's prim and proper Aunt Polly is equally brilliant as on one hand she is the strict disciplinarian yet she is amusing in her strictness. But you can't ignore the supporting performances as the likes of Tom Ellis as handyman Tim and Kate Ashfield as Nancy bring plenty of sweet fun.
What this all boils down to is that the 2003 version of "Pollyanna" is another great movie with the emphasis more on the characters rather than the production which was the focus of the Disney movie. But it is the power of the story and the infectious nature of Pollyanna which is why this is a sweet, charming and wonderful movie.