With their father away as a chaplain in the Civil War, Jo, Meg, Beth and Amy grow up with their mother in somewhat reduced circumstances. They are a close family who inevitably have their squabbles and tragedies. But the bond holds even when, later, male friends start to become a part of the household.
***“Time erodes beauty, but what it cannot diminish is the wonderful workings of your mind"*** Based on Louisa May Alcott’s classic 1868 novel, “Little Women” details the coming-of-age years of four sisters from 1862-1868, covering most of the Civil War and a few years afterward. I love the rustic New England ambiance, especially the wintery parts, but the story curiously isn’t as compelling as the classic 1933 version with Katharine Hepburn, at least as I REMEMBER it being. Thankfully, things perk up in the second half when the forceful Jo (Winona Ryder) goes to New York City and develops a friendship with an amicable, but much older scholar (Gabriel Byrne). The ending is heartwarming. It’s interesting seeing all these actors when they were younger: Trini Alvarado as the oldest sister Meg, who’s interested in a tutor that works next door (Eric Stoltz); Claire Danes as the sickly Beth; and Kirsten Dunst & Samantha Mathis as Amy, younger and older. Christian Bale plays the neighbor, Laurie, who becomes an honorary brother that loves the March family so much he desperately wants to be part of it. Meanwhile Susan Sarandon is on hand as the mother. The film runs 1 hour, 55 minutes and was shot in British Columbia and Deerfield, Massachusetts. While the movie opened rather weakly at the box office during Christmas, 1994, it went on to become a surprise success. GRADE: C+/B-