Sisters—and dreams—are unique in their ability to inspire, encourage and change the world. For 150 years, Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women has motivated women of all ages to dream together and celebrate family. Coming to theaters for the first time, a modern retelling of Little Women brings a new generation together with their mothers, sisters and friends.
From girls playing in the attic to women living with purpose, the March sisters—Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy—are committed to always supporting each other. Yet, growing up sometimes means growing apart.
An aspiring writer, Jo leaves for New York determined to publish a novel. In the wake of rejected draft upon draft, her editor challenges Jo to write about something more interesting—her family. When tragedy brings the sisters back home, sticking together takes on new meaning. As Jo comforts her sick sister, Beth asks for one thing: a story. Jo knows the perfect one—by heart.
Starring Lea Thompson as Marmee and featuring a talented cast, including Lucas Grabeel and Ian Bohen, Little Women tells the story of the same beloved sisters to a new generation. Celebrating dreams, family and unconditional love, Little Women opens in theaters fall 2018.
Little Women, produced by Main Dog Productions, is a loose remake of Louisa May Alcott’s American classic novel by the same name. It is usually difficult to hurdle the obstacle of familiarity when taking on a classic. Although the framework of names and relationships are taken from Ms. Alcott, much of the story is original and may cause the upward turn of noses from Little Women fans. The story opens as a flashback in the March home—a few hours north of New York City. Four young homeschooled sisters, in a room of make believe, are creating a play. Jo March passionately lives the part of a mythical hero which she has authored. Morph to 13 years later, present day: Jo is reading with exaggerated enthusiasm for a panel of editors, each passing on publishing her manuscript. (The actress often seems directed to deliver with the energy of a Disney sitcom character.) Jo’s indignant reaction to the editors’ rejection paints the canvas for her brash personality throughout the film.
Through ups and downs, Jo and her sisters rely on each other and their joyous creative adventures for fortitude. They befriend Laurie, a lonesome boy living at his wealthy grandfather’s estate. Quickly he’s admitted by oath into the sisters’ secret Pickwick Club and becomes a friend for life. Each, including Laurie, has dreams of a perfect future. Through the juxtaposition of flashbacks, we see dreams developing or evaporating. We see the extraordinary loyalty the sisters have, suffering through each other’s mistakes. A couple of teen party scenes present fertile ground for such mistakes, a place Ms. Alcott couldn’t fathom. The happy ending to these scenes is the sisters’ ability to say “No!”
The film continues to follow Jo March as she toils feverishly to get her book published. Her obsession with success deposits a residual on her worldview and her relationships, first with Laurie, then with Freddy, her handsome editor. She believes her sister Meg is making a life-ruining decision to marry and have children—and tells her so. Just as adamantly, Jo sticks by Beth’s side as she battles cancer. Eventually, Jo is forced to reconcile her feminist views with her feelings for Freddy. Overall, the film is well-produced and offers positive solutions and choices when struggles are eminent. Because of multiple drinking scenes and an overbearing kissing scene, the film isn’t appropriate for young children. Dove awards it the 12+ Seal.
What to talk about
This remake of “Little Women” is not closely reminiscent of Ms. Alcott’s novel. Obsession with creative success can endanger relationships. Feminist views of career vs. family. The importance of family.
The Dove Take
Four sisters-in-arms find strength from the loving familial fortress they have created. In particular, Jo March benefits from that fortress when her dreams evade her.