If ghosts, eccentric old ladies, resourceful little girls, deathbed drama and romance are your cup of tea, “Lantern Hill” is a splendid treat. Originally seen on the Disney cable channel, this well-crafted film is now accessible to a wider audience, airing Sunday on PBS’ “Wonderworks Family Movie,” at 5 p.m. on Channel 28.
It’s another Prince Edward Island adventure from “Anne of Green Gables” author Lucy Maud Montgomery--one of her best.
Twelve-year-old Jane Stuart (Mairon Bennett), whose mother is ill, must live with her tyrannical, rich grandmother (Zoe Caldwell). Miserable in her new private school, the target of her cousin’s spite, she learns that her father isn’t dead--that her mother left him when Jane was a baby for dark, unspoken reasons.
Then Jane meets her father (Sam Waterston), his interfering sister and the mysterious Hepzibah (Colleen Dewhurst), who guides Jane’s destiny.
As she and her father find their way together, Jane discovers the strength to bring peace to a restless ghost and right the wrongs that separated her parents. Part of that strength comes from tough little orphan Polly--"I ain’t riff-raff. I works ‘ard to pay my own way"--delightfully played by “Avonlea” star Sarah Polley.
The production is first-rate, from the uniformly solid performances to Kevin Sullivan’s silky direction and the colorful screenplay he wrote with Fiona McHugh.