‘Little Women’ (1994)- movie review

Little Women, directed by Gillian Armstrong, is an adaptation of the novel ‘Little Women’ by Louisa May Alcott.  It was released worldwide on December 25, 1994, by Columbia Pictures.


Winona Ryder (Jo), Susan Sarandon (Marmi), Trini Alvarados (Meg), Claire Danes  (Beth), Kirsten Dunst (Amy), Christian Bale (Lorry), Gabriel Bryne (Frederick), Mary Wickes (Aunt March), Eric Stolte (John Brooke).


A faithful adaptation of  the Civil War era, the story focuses on the ambitions, desires and the emotions of the titular four March sisters: beautiful ‘Meg’, tomboyish ‘Jo’, quiet ‘Beth’ and artistic ‘Amy’, together with their loving mother. With their father fighting in the war, the March family succeeds in finding happiness in the tiniest of things, battling their way through life, inspite of the hardships and obstacles that obstruct their path.

The family befriends their neighbor, Lorry, a rich boy, who has come to live with his grandfather. Lorry’s attraction for Jo brings him closer to the family. Soon the news comes that Mr. March has been wounded in the war and hence Marmi, the girls’ mother, leaves for Washington, to nurse him. Jo is left in charge of the house and she effectively shoulders the burden of the family, during her mother’s absence. At this time Beth contracts Scarlet Fever but is well cared for, by Jo. On Mr. March and Marmi’s return, Jo wishes to leave for the city of New York  to pursue her dream of writing and experiencing life. This wish is fulfilled and she soon leaves. While in New York, she meets and falls in love with Frederick, a German professor, who encourages her to write something different from the stereotype Victorian melodramas, that she had so far penned.  Meanwhile Amy, who had gone to Europe with her aunt March, meets Lorry. He wants to marry her, but since Amy refused to marry him, he leaves for London, to make himself worthy of her.

In due course of time, Jo receives a letter beckoning her home urgently. Beth succumbs to the effects of Scarlet Fever, that she had contrived 4 years ago. Amy soon returns home, married to Lorry. Aunt March also dies, leaving all her property to Jo, who decides to convert it into a school. Finally, taking Frederick’s advice, Jo begins writing the book that ultimately becomes the classic story of Little Women.


The cast and crew of the film was nominated for three Academy Awards. Winona Ryder was nominated in The Best Actress category, Colleen Atwood in The Best Costume Design category and Thomas Newman in the Best Original Score category. Winona Ryder won the Best Actress Award and Kirsten Dunst, the Young Artist Award.


Every dialogue in the movie is full of feeling and meaning. The movie tells us of the tender friendship, of the sisterly love the girls share, of the dark days which slowly fade away and the rays of hope that steadily creep in. It teaches us that man makes mistakes and errors, from time to time, but a true person is the one who learns from them and endeavours never to repeat them again. It brings out the true essence of the proverb ‘try, try, till you succeed.’

The film’s willingness to concentrate exclusively on the four sisters, with their varied ideologies, was an important step forward in the cinematic treatment of women, of those times.

All in all, guys might find it difficult to sit through the whole movie, since the story concentrates completely on girls, but for girls, you can never have a better movie to  enjoy !!

Sahil Batra

Image Source: [http://www.teachwithmovies.org/guides/little-women-DVDcover.jpg]