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4.7 out of 5 stars
Little Women
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on 28 March 2006
This movie is a truly heartwarming, emotional and touching story about the lives and loves of 4 sisters, who have been left poor while their father has gone off to fight in the American Civil War. There is no limit to the number of the times I can watch this film, and I can be sure that every time I do I'll be moved to tears! One of the things I like most about this film is the score - the music is what will make you cry, and really gives it a great sense of atmosphere. The acting is brilliant, my heart breaks every time I watch Laurie's proposal scene! If you like romance, period drama, or just a really good story, this is for you, buy it today!
PS. Gabriel Byrne is hot in this. (!!!)
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
absolutely adored this remake of the classic story Little Women. I thought the whole movie was superb and perfectly cast and am really glad this remake was done. It was a great night at the movies.

Watching this movie made me enraptured with this time period and made me also want to know these people. The story wasn't changed and the movie's warmth and gentleness were still as luminous as ever. No flashiness at all just magnificent storytelling and it was really superb to see.

With so many movies oriented toward violence, anger, brutality etc Little Women is a breath of fresh air. I love all types of movies but where would we be without an occasional heartwarming, uplifting(at times) classic like this?

Everyone was flawless in this but I must single out Danes, Sarrandon and one of my favorites Ms Winona! (Who else but Winona could have played Jo?).

If you haven't seen this yet you certainly should. Little women is another classic that never gets old. This remake is Absolute perfection !
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 20 January 2012
Over the years there's been a few attempts at filming this well-loved story of four sisters growing up in New England during the American Civil War, but this is by far the best version.
You can always find fault with a film adaptation of a familiar book, things always get left out or changed to fit the format, and this one is no different: Beth's relationship with old Mr Laurence next door has been completely ignored, for instance. And it's Hollywood, after all, so everything's a bit too shiny and everyone's a bit too good-looking.
That said, I don't think you could improve much on this. The casting is superb - all four sisters are just as I pictured them. In particular, Winona Ryder (not an actress I normally admire) is the perfect Jo, and Kirsten Dunst the perfect Amy (it's a shame she had to grow up, and another actress had to take over). A young Christian Bale (much nicer than the older version) is an endearing Laurie. Susan Sarandon, as Marmee, and Gabriel Byrne, as Professor Bhaer, can't help being a bit too glamorous for their roles, but it doesn't matter, they play them just right.
It's a very beautiful film to look at, and it's heartwarming, funny and touching: you'd have to have a heart of stone to resist it. But it's not a sentimental fairy tale. This is a sweet and loving family (even Amy!) but a it's real one, with real problems to overcome - there's a hard edge to this story.
I read the books many times as a teenager years ago, and I've just watched the DVD with my daughters, who had never heard of them - we were all entranced.
So give it a try - it's a welcome break if you've been watching a lot of films like Sex and The City or Bridesmaids recently - and get ready to laugh and cry throughout. It's just lovely.
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33 of 36 people found the following review helpful
on 21 September 2001
It was intriguing to see this much-acclaimed version of the well-loved classic. Despite being a rather glossy adaptation of a rather detailed book, the film does an excellent job of really exploring the characters. Winona Ryder plays an endearing and rather believable Jo alongside a great cast including a painfully likeable Marmee (Susan Sarandon.) Filled with heart warming family scenes and picturesque childhood memories, this is an admirable account of those difficult decisions and choices women have to make throughout their lives. Not a film to watch if you want action and excitement but never the less a brilliant film that for once does the novel justice.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 8 November 2006
Louisa May Alcott's book has come to life in vivid detail and beauty. The casting is superb. The four sisters are a pleasure to watch and view as they develop into young ladies who experience both the pleasures and pains of growing into adulthood. The film depicts the changes in each character from adolescence and the growing pains associated with making independent decisions based on their personalities and values. As young ladies with education who grew up in a household where their opinions were heard and mattered, they stand in direct contrast with the majority of girls growing up at that time ...

In the attic, the sisters enact all the parts of a play which Jo had written ... it was a great moment when they invited Theodore Lawrence into their circle of friends. The individuality of each sister is quite evident. The film does a fine job of presenting each character, Jo, Meg, Beth, and Amy as unique individuals who blossom, each into her own personality, when they are forced to make choices and deal with building their own lives. The film shows the flow of everyday life around the time of the Civil War, when their father was serving as a soldier. The film does a wonderful job of showing the social structure and class differences of the era. The language, speech and manners of the times are well acted ...

The close bonds of sisterhood are threatened by Beth's illness, and eventual death. The film presents Jo, Meg and Amy as they develop into responsible adults with independent lives and interests apart from the cocoon of the family. Meg's courtship and eventual marriage to a school teacher/tutor is done well, especially the birth of their twins. Amy's ambitions of marrying into wealth and becoming a lady, and the value conflicts associated with this desire when she meets Theodore Lawrence in Paris is superbly done. Jo's move to live in New York at a boarding house, broadens her life experiences as she is challenged by Frederick, a German professor she bumps into by chance. Her wings are spread as she learns to fly solo within this new and challenging environment. Despite their differences, the sisters are forever connected by the bonds of family and love which makes the book and film an enduring classic. Erika Borsos [pepper flower]
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
TOP 500 REVIEWERon 15 April 2011
Christian Bale is great, Winona Ryder is the best she's ever been, Susan Sarandon brings tremendous
complexity to what could have been an overly familiar character, Gabriel Byrne is terrific and very different
from anything else he's done, etc. right down the line through the whole cast.

Gillian Armstrong's direction is seamless and invisible in the strongest way, getting the best from
her actors, cinematographer, designers, and the story itself, while never making you conscious of
all the style and tone she's bringing to it.

While it threatens to feel to Hollywood/sappy/ period-stogy for the first few minutes, stay with it.
It quickly warms up and comes to vibrant life, turning into a wonderfully winning proto- feminist story,
very touching, and full of unexpected moments and twists.

One of my very favorite period family films.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 24 May 2013
I bought this for the wife. It's obviously a womans tale and she loves it of old. I watched it and was absorbed from start to finish; so rate it as a production. The settings, I thought, were quality and although not an expert, I suspect the acting was also of a very high standard. I and my wife would recommend this film to virtually all ages and both sexes.
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on 5 February 2014
I love this version. I used to watch this version incessantly when I was young, and as it was shown on TV recently over Christmas, I revisited it. I'm so glad I reminded myself of wondeful it is. The book is outstanding, and this version really does it justice. It's thorough, heart-warming and truly sensational story telling. Fabulous all star cast, with Susan Sarandon bringing a real sense of comfort and all knowing to the maternal overseer role of her beautifully engaging daughters.

Watch this and you won't be disappointed. A real joy to watch!
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17 of 22 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 14 June 2008
First things first - watch it at all costs if only for a young Kirsten Dunst. I can't imagine a better Amy and whenever I go back to the book I always imagine her in the part. Full of life, adorable and hilarious. There's a bit I just love, where Jo says "Stop sulking, Amy, you look like a pigeon", and Amy leans back, rolls her eyes and gives a sulky couple of 'coo's. Sadly, she gets cut two thirds of the way through for a 'grown-up' Amy, who is all right but nothing to write home about.

I wanted to like it, but the film as a whole is pretty flawed. The pace is monotonous and some of the best scenes of the book are cut and replaced with dull dialogue. Because the film is of both Little Women books, a lot of character development is cut and so the first time old Mr. Laurence speaks is when he appears to give Beth a piano, apparently apropos of nothing.

The casting, apart from Kirsten, left me with a lot to be desired. Romance fans, prepare to be disappointed by a completely bloodless Meg (who looks more like 30 than 16) and John Brooke. Claire Danes did as well as she could with a sadly under-written Beth. Winona Ryder makes a pretty good Jo, but Christian Bale was far too old to play Laurie (who is meant to be 15 at the start), and added a certain sleaziness to the character which I didn't care for.

A complete departure from the book was the character of Marmee (Susan Sarandon), here turned into a raging feminist, slipping into speeches on the evils of corsets left, right and centre. Were Marmee's morals considered too old-fashioned for the 90s, or what? Personally, I though she was fine the way she was, especially considering it's set in the 1860s. Luckily, there is still a sweetness to the character and at least they did bring out her principled side. (I also have to wonder how common it was for unmarried, un-engaged couples to launch into full-on snogging in those days, because there's a fair bit of it here!).

However, I did like Jo's Professor Bhaer. The love story felt plausible despite the age gap.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 11 June 2013
Very good production of Little women well acted worth buying by people who like the classics. Susan Sarandon heads the cast and is a good actor.
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