When I was in middle school and high school, I had a surge of interest in the classics of literature. I blazed through Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, the Brontës, and all those other lovely British authors like nobody’s business. I never found too much interest in the American classics–until Little Women. To a girl who spent most of her time filling up notebook after notebook with stories, Jo March was nothing short of a hero. Of course I eventually saw the movie from the 90s, which I still love, and then more recently the BBC miniseries from 2017…which I keep forgetting to watch the last episode of (whoops)!
This new adaptation of the beloved story piqued my interest from the first time I saw the trailer. The impeccable casting was what first caught my eye, and the brief clips from the trailer made it clear that the movie was going to be packed full of heart and emotion. Somehow time got away from me and I wasn’t able to see it when it was in theaters, as much as I wanted to. Therefore here I am, several months later, finally watching this movie for the first time.
Short review: I really liked it! (So if you’re bored already, you can just stop reading now!) I definitely think it was the best cast out of any of the adaptations; the chemistry between all of the actors was tangible! I also really enjoyed how real the scenes between the March sisters felt as they talked over each other all at once or threw propriety completely out the window and acted ridiculously silly. The sisters’ relationships with Laurie were also portrayed perfectly, making the movie overall just really fun to watch.
Honestly, this movie would almost be perfect if not for one fault that, unfortunately, was glaring: the timeline. Though I appreciate the makers of the movie wanting to do something different, especially since a major adaptation of Little Women just came out a couple years prior to this one, I’m afraid the idea wasn’t executed very well. In this adaptation they attempted to show the future happening at the same time as the past–and while I think it could have made sense to show a scene of Jo presenting her book at the beginning of the movie, that wasn’t where this movie stopped. With the way it jumped around from sister to sister in the future and the past, it made for a rather confusing muddle of events at times; even to someone who knows the book pretty well like I do! My parents, who watched the movie with me and are only vaguely familair with the book, were completely lost at times.
I will say that I see the merit in the idea, as Little Women does parallel itself throughout the story. There are good ways to tell the future at the same time as the past (trust me, I watch Doctor Who), but this movie was not it. And sadly, it took some enjoyment away from an otherwise wonderful movie!
Other than that negative aspect of the movie, I really can’t say anything else against it. Yes, there were some minor changes from the book and things left out, but not anything that detracted from the plot or the powerful emotion of the story. It was certainly a good example of an adaptation in terms of what they decided to include or not include. All of the most memorable parts were there…and I mean, as long as you have Jo burning off Meg’s hair on accident, nothing else really matters, does it? (I promise I’m kidding!)
Most of all, I’m glad that it stayed true to the messages of kindness, hope, love, and following your dreams. It made me want to reread the book again, as it’s been a few years since the last time I picked it up. Overall, I give the movie three out of five stars! It’s definitely something I will watch and enjoy again.