Pollyanna (2003) Review

See there, on the cover of the DVD, a comment of 'the Daily Mail.' They say it's 'dramatic and heartwarming.' Well. it's not. It's not dramatic, that is - it's definitely heartwarming, but not dramatic. It's the kind of fuzzy, happy, sweet, 'ahhhh' and everyone-in-the-family-enjoys-it-except-your-picky-older-brother kind of movie. But it's not really dramatic, in my opinion. But that's entirely besides the point.
Pollyanna is this delightful story about yet-another-bossy-aunt and yet-another-freckled-orphan. And to be honest, such stories never grow old. I could read fifty other books about chatty orphans going to strict people and then only perhaps would the idea start wearing off me. It's just a lovely, darling story.
The 2003 version is not a famous version, don't ask me why. I haven't seen the famous one, the Disney Hayley Mills one (since I was about six), but I know that this version will always have a special place in my heart. It's just SO adorable. Just SO sweet. It's not perfect (few things are, you know) but it's just so oh-please-see-it-so-we-can-talk-about-it-together. (Gosh, I seem to do a lot of those word-word-word things. I guess I'm in that kind of mood.)
Anyway, let's get to the review.
So you all know the story, right?
I know you do, but then you might not, so here's a synopsis à la myself. So Pollyanna, a talkative girl with the positive-est attitude a person ever had, after the loss of her father, finds herself an orphan on her way to live with her Aunt Polly, who's the kind of cliché-book-aunt, only prettier. Nancy, the blonde maid loves Pollyanna immediately, but Aunt Polly shows little love. Pollyanna doesn't notice that, and treats all her punishments as rare treats. It's hilarious. Then Pollyanna meets old Mr Pendleton, an old scruffy mysterious man, and matches him with Aunt Polly, thinking they were lovers in their youth. But it ain't so, and Pollyanna has more girlish adventures along the way of finding her aunts old lover, which includes an injury, calfs-foot-jelly and a beggar boy called Jimmy Bean.
There, what a synopsis! I'm dashed proud. :-P
I've not a clue what the actress-who-played-Pollyanna (there I did that again)'s name is, but she did a pretty good job. Sometimes I thought she kind of just SAID her lines, but then I realised the way she did it was SO Pollyanna-ish, and I perished the thought. Pollyanna was such a darling. It's like, she's SO sweet that it's almost depressing. :-)
She had red hair. In the book she was a dirty blonde. Yeah. 'Tis nothing.
What I love the most about Pollyanna is her glad-game. It's so adorable, how she teaches it to random city-people. In the book however, she continues to play her glad-game (which is a game where one finds something happy in everything that passes your life and it all started when she got a pair of crutches for her birthday and...) when she's injured, but in the movie she gives up and says that there's nothing good about being crippled. I didn't mind the non-book-accuracy, because I loved the way they did everything, and how city-people came to Aunt Polly telling her to tell Pollyanna how they were playing her game.
Ugghghghg. Aunt Polly is SUCH a mean bean. Honestly, I really admire Pollyanna for being so positive about her. I would have just felt like pouring maple syrup over that stiff, frown-y head of hers.
But in the end she's nicer, of course. And her Edwardian hats and blouses and skirts are very elegant indeed, they are. Amanda Burton did a good job. I loved how she found Pollyanna's energetic-ism so tiring. At one point Pollyanna was doing her lessons, reading something loudly and with great gusto (not P&P, that was another scene) and Aunt Polly mobbed her forehead with a white hanky and murmured, 'I didn't know being read to was so tiring.'
And she and the doctor... so sweet.
I loved how they portrayed Nancy in here! I'm kind of glad they didn't make her like the weird, Cockney, kind of empty-headed Nancy in the book. She was very pretty and kind and graceful and had a beautiful golden kind of voice which I'd love to possess. And you know what they did in the movie? They put in a Nancy-romance! Yes!
The romance between Nancy and the servant Tim was SO ADORABLE. I personally didn't care that much for Tim, but yet it was adorable. My favourite scenes were the Nancy-Tim ones, I must admit. I told you I have this thing for romantic scenes.
Tim, as I said, was not someone I'd rave over, but he was a great character. Boyish, funny, a bit bashful, always talking about machines (which bored the ladies to death). My favourite non-Nancy part with him was where he tried to convince his mistress to buy a car.
Tim: 'I was just telling your lovely Pollyanna that the motorcar is the future.'
Aunt Polly: 'I seem to remember you once telling me the Titanic was the future.'
He was so funny, the way he kept on talking about the motorcar.
Mr Pendleton. He was sour and cross, just like he should have been. Kenneth Cranham did a very good job indeed. I loved it when he adopts Pollyanna's orphan beggar friend, Jimmy Bean (who's SUCH a sweet boy, by the way). Their relationship was so cute.
Mr Pendleton: "Go to your room, Jimmy."
Jimmy Bean: "Which one?"
Pam Ferris as Mrs White! Her scenes were hilarious. Pollyanna knows exactly how to change her life attitude. And oh, the WAY she plays the glad game. I MUST quote.
Pollyanna: Here's another one- this one happened to me. A fair is coming to the village but it rained a lot so nobody can go.
Mrs White: I would be glad because.... everyone else would get wet besides me because I was confined to bed.
Pollyanna: That's not playing the game right.
Mrs White: Oh. I would be glad because.... let me think.... because the next time it came everyone would enjoy it more because they hadn't been there for the last time!
Pollyanna: Yes, exactly!
Doctor Chilton was so kind, so handsome, so sympathetic. I don't think Aunt Polly was good enough for him actually. My favourite doctor Chilton quote was, 'I'm doctor Chilton. The good one.' and, 'I hear you've cheered up Mrs White. She's also one of my less giggly patients.'
There's a deplorable lack of pictures of this movie. Honestly, why is this version so un-famous?
Here is a list of some other things I liked about this movie:
~ Mr Collins was in it! David Bamber was in it, that is to say. He was a pastor, again. He was very nice in here, I liked him - especially when he said how unsuitable he found the idea of Sunday school on a Monday. And when he picked up Pollyanna's dog and played with him.
~ Nancy's blue bowed hat.
~ The bunch of roses Tim gives to Nancy under the washing line.
~ When doctor Chilton tells Pollyanna in a dreamy way that, 'It was I who loved your Aunt Polly.'
~ The wedding at the end!!!
~ The way Tim tells Pollyanna who he is. 'I'm the odd-tasks-servant; Tim. My father's the gardener; Tom.' (He has very funny facial expressions as he says these things. Go watch it and you'll see what I mean.)
The scenery: Very Edwardian-ish and lovely. I especially thought Mr Pendleton's garden nice, and the village.
The costumes: Very good. Historically accurate, and very beautiful.
The quotes: As you might have gathered from the review, there are so many lovely, funny, just-must-quote quotes in here.
Objectionable content: NONE. None vatsoever, as the gentleman said when his... oh never mind. I was trying to find something really funny to say the way Sam Weller does in 'the Pickwick Papers.' But I didn't really succeed, haha.
Anyway. Please watch this, come back here, and we'll talk about it in the comments. And if you have seen it, I'm delighted! Let's talk about it right now. :-)
On a sidenote, what do you think of my new design? I know it's still winter, and it's not as if I'm yearning for Spring (I LOVE winter, you know), but I just felt like trying something different. I know. Again. Anyway, what do you think? Oh, and don't you think it looks like Anne Steel (on the header) has nothing in her sleeves? Ewww. Creepy.


  1. I'd never heard of this version until just now. Thanks for the review. :) Now I know.

  2. Your review makes me want to see Pollyana right now! And your header is as pretty as ever, and seems really valentiney to me! Do you show all your past headers somewhere? I'd love to see all the ones you've used!

  3. I had seen somewhere or other that you liked this version and I was like "Hooray another Pollyanna fan"!!! And now you did this review, which is totally terrific! I have seen the Hayley Mill's version several times, but even though Hayley Mills is one of my favorite actresses, I just don't like that version very much.

    I agree, the P&P part is simply too hilarious!

    YES!!!! The Doctor is utter PERFECTION!!! I had always had a soft spot for that profession even before this film and now...well let's just say I think he is the VERY BEST of them all! Oh, and then the part with him in carriage in the rain and he sees Aunt Polly and then Nancy and Tim run around the corner! *Excuse the happy tears* How is it that rain + romance = (nearly always) double the sweetness of any romance?

    I hope you have a lovely day!!

  4. Hannah, Haha yes, now you know. :-)

    Abby P, Thank you about the header! Yes, you can see all my past headers on the 'header' page. I haven't updated this one on it yet- thanks for reminding me. :-)

    Oooh! You know this version! I'm utterly pleased. Yes, doctor Chilton is a complete dear - he's just SO Chilton-ish. Kind of witty, but still calm and oh, I don't know, but you know what I mean. :-) Oh yes, romance+rain=sweet scene. Not *always* but often. (For example, I do not like how the made Darcy propose in the rain in the 05 P&P.)
    Thank you for the lovely comment!

    ~ Naomi

  5. Wow, I just watched Pollyanna last night, and I loved it! Pollyanna is so sweet and chipper! And thanks for pointing out the headers page, Naomi! I don't know how I could have missed it before!

  6. Hi Naomi, I have been reading your blog for a while now and have loved it! I hardly ever comment on any blogs I read but I couldn't resist this one:)
    I love this film! I remember I watched it when I was very young at my grandparents house but only re-watched it last year. It is nice isn't it! I too think it's amazing how many books there are about lively orphans changing the lives of grumpy old people. Haha, nice post:)
    Love Naomi xx

  7. Have you read the sequel, Pollyanna Grows Up? I read it once, long ago, and liked it quite well.

  8. Abby P, Oh! You saw it! Wow, that was fast. :-) I'm so glad you loved it!

    Naomi, Thank you for commenting and reading my blog! Thank you, yes, haha, so many books about orphans cheering up grumpy people. As I said, it's just a nice plot - people love it. :-)
    Also, I absolutely adore your name. :-P

    Yes, I started the sequel a long long time ago. I remember not really liking it, but I'm going to try it again soon.

    ~ Naomi

  9. Haha yes I have always liked my name! And the meaning of our name is nice too.
    Love Naomi xx

  10. I've never watched this version-but I have seen the Hayley Mills one and love that. I'll have to get this one and compare.
    Ooh, she reads Pride and Prejudice in it?? And MR COLLINS is in it?
    Haha I don't care for Nancy's boyfriend in the Hayley version either. He's funny but...I don't know. I just don't like him. :P
    And I love your new design!

  11. Hmmm, never heard of this one. It looks cute, though! The Hayley Mills one is so cute - you should watch it again. And was I supposed to laugh at the Anne Steele (actually I think that's Lucy) comment? It just made me giggle. :-)

  12. Watching thus tonight!
    Sent from my iPhone.

  13. Natalie,
    Yes! Mr Collins is in it. He is SO GOOD in here. (not that he wasn't in P&P, haha) When we saw him first we all went, 'OH LOOK! MR COLLINS!!!' That was very exciting. :-) Heehee, I'm glad you understand me about Nancy's boyfriend. (Oh, Nancy also has one in the other version? I forgot about that.)
    Thank you!

    Miss Elliot,
    Yes, this version is such a delight! Oh you're right, I should watch the Hayley Mills version. I've completely forgotten everything except the part where Pollyanna hides in a bush or something? (Or am I inventing that?)
    Oooh, you're right! How silly of me. That's LUCY. (Ahem. I DID know that.)

    Ohh yay. You're going to watch it! HAVE FUN! (You'll love it.)

    ~ Naomi

  14. Naomi~
    Haha yes she does have a boyfriend in the other version! I'll be sure to tell you whether I see this version or not. I hope to!! :)

  15. What a beautiful new header :) Thanks for your review of this lovely movie. I loved it and have watched it so many times! I wish there were more pictures too. I like it better than the older version, although it's cute. I like Nancy too, she's great and oooh yes Dr Chilton is my favourite! He's just too adorable, kind, lovely and he and Aunt Polly are so sweet together. I think Aunt Polly was very unhappy since they weren't together and couldn't deal with it very well. I love how adorable he is when he tells her that a day hasn't gone by when he hasn't thought of her :). So romantic! Anyways, I love your blog and happy birthday!!

  16. Doctor Chilton is so handsome *swoons*


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