Little Women (1949) Review


It’s time to look at the next adaption of the classic Little Women story. While it will feel very familiar to the last one as they mainly tackle the same events, I’d say that it is executed better. Personally I found this one to be quite a bit more enjoyable than the last version. Some of the plots still aren’t the best and the final romance feels rushed but at least the film tries to address this since there are technically a few time skips. I’ll give the film some points for effort there even if ultimately it didn’t work.

The film follows a group of sisters who are currently having fun times. Their father has went off to war and so the family isn’t doing particularly well financially but they have each other which has always been enough for them. Jo is the main character and she is an aspiring writer. One day she aims to be featured in the papers and to have her books published. In the meantime she writes plays for the family to perform. One day a boy moves in next day and they hit it off but Jo is determined to stay as friends. She believes that none of the main characters should fall in love because then the dynamic will change. She’s not wrong, but can you actually say no to romance in a movie?

Jo’s idea isn’t all that bad. The idea of having a friend is a good one. You shouldn’t always feel pressured to take that to the next step. It’s not really her place to hold any of the other sisters back though. It may be a shame that the dynamic has to change but ultimately that was bound to happen one way or the other. Time is not stagnant and so eventually every dynamic ends up crumbling. You either adapt with it or you’ll spend your time relying too much on your memories of the past. The film’s pretty predictable on if Jo ends up succumbing to romance or not so be prepared for that.

There are quite a few subplot though as each sister gets her own plot. They meet people, one of them grows sick, etc. The film isn’t afraid to tackle some tough themes as well with one character dying. Each character has their own burden to bear whether it be physical or emotional. Part of what hurt in the previous version was that it was really hard to care much about the story. It was all just way too old and the writing came across as rather sluggish. This one does a better job with the writing and streamlining the plot. There also appeared to be a significant age gap in the final romance in the last film which is corrected here. It’s hard to see an age gap of more than 10 which I tend to consider as the cut off. Even that is already on the wider side.

Jo’s definitely the most entertaining character of the group. She’s got a lot of energy and tends to dismiss formalities and just be herself. It’s something that was quite rare back in the day so it really makes her stand out from the rest. Meg, Amy, and Beth are reasonable characters as well although there is less notable about them. While Beth is a lot younger than the others she always composes herself well with solid dignity. Meg and Amy mainly follow the standard path of falling in love right away. They’re solid characters even if one of them does end up rebounding with someone who liked Jo at one point which is a bit sketchy. You’d think that if someone likes the sister you would definitely not start a relationship there. It seems a bit like a betrayal even if the relationship was over. I just don’t think that’s something you should ever do.

There’s not a whole lot more to say that I didn’t already say in the first film. It’s pretty much the same movie only this one is newer. Due to the nature of the movie it’s also not like a whole lot happens. The runtime is fairly long though. I’d say that the writing is fine. It may not be winning any awards anytime soon, but it does the job and everyone feels like a real character which is important. It’s all fairly realistic for its time. That’s why I’d like the next Little Women adaption to get a little more out there. Have it take place in the future or something. I think that would end up being quite excellent as a change of scenery would end up helping quite a lot. It’s exactly the surge of new energy that the film could use and I think it would end up taking it quite far.

Overall, Little Women seems to be pretty faithful to the book based on how similar it is to the last one. It’s a classic slice of life story and if anything may be one of the most fitting installments in the genre. This is exactly what you would expect out of a slice of life if you ask me. There may not be any danger or villains but you do get to see the characters live out their lives and change as time goes on. It’s all quite dramatic in a social way. If this kind of plot really interests you then you should check it out. Personally I think slice of life films need a bit more comedy to really hit it home for me. If you play it too serious then it becomes a bit too close to real life and so I don’t really see the point of the film. A good film needs to be highly entertaining. This film isn’t, but it’s not boring either which is why I place it squarely in the middle. It’s not a bad film but I couldn’t imagine watching it a second time.

Overall 5/10

Little Women Review


It’s time to look at a pretty old film from the 30s. I’m sure just about everyone has heard of this film though because it has gotten several remakes over the years. I can’t say I had high expectations for the film, but it still managed to underwhelm me after watching. It feels like not a lot happens in the movie and you may grow bored by the end. I think a few plots could have been cut out, particularly some of the romance and backstabbing going on.

The film is focused on the 4 main girls who are trying to lead fulfilling lives. Jo is the main character and she’s always been a tom boy much to the embarrassment of her sisters who feel this puts them in an awkward spot at social gatherings. Jo meets up with the next door neighbor Laurie and they hit it off. The thing is, she just wants to be friends while he isn’t looking for that kind of thing. Jo just wants everything to stay the same but gradually her sisters begin to get romantically involved as well. Can she really prolong the status quo?

One thing in life that always rings true is that the status quo can never stay the same forever. Even if you choose to stay single that doesn’t mean everyone else will. You also have to account for World War III, Quarantines, Natural Disasters, and many other events that would make normal life impossible. The best thing to do is enjoy the time you have now and make the most of it so you have no regrets. Jo ends up missing her chance as a result, but at least she wrote a book right? She’s an okay character I guess, but I can’t say that I particularly liked any of the characters in the movie much. Laurie’s grandfather would be the best character for me since he seemed like a nice old man. Jo’s Mom and the maid also seemed like nice characters as well.

Amy is easily the weakest of the sisters though as she helps Laurie rebound from Joe’s rejection pretty quickly. Now, Jo and Laurie were thoroughly done so it’s not cheating, but it’s still pretty iffy to go after someone like that. If you’ve got family who just had a relationship not work out, you’re not going to quickly jump in right? It makes it seem like Amy was waiting for this opportunity and that Laurie must never have been all that serious about Jo. I’ve always got to assume that the romance was not all that real if you can bounce back from it with someone else so soon. So I have to blame both Laurie and Amy here. In particular with Amy it feels like a betrayal. They’re sisters so that makes it especially personal.

Meg doesn’t get nearly as much of a role. She was the first to get into romance I suppose, but that’s about it. The main stories were still mainly about Jo. Unfortunately that did not work in the film’s favor either as her rebound plot wasn’t any good either. She ends up falling for her writing tutor and it’s hard to ignore the fact that there appears to be a significant age gap there. It could just be the actors appearing that way I suppose but since we can only judge from the visuals it is a bit dicey. I don’t think there’s necessarily a problem with an age gap within reasonable limits (both are over 18) but you can’t go too far. Ideally you should be within 2-3 years and maybe at most you can go up to 10 but even that seems a little wide to me. Regardless this romance plot comes about very quickly and nothing about it seems very natural.

The writing is also not that good which is surprising from such an old film. The movie’s never engaging and that’s due in large part to the characters not being interesting. They tend to talk about a lot of things that don’t really matter all that much and certainly don’t hold your attention. You can have a good slice of life film but this movie is missing a key ingredient. It’s missing humor and banter. There is no witty dialogue to be found here or even any scenes that will have you crack a grin. It’s not as if this is a dark or grim film. It’s fairly upbeat and all, but it’s played incredibly serious the whole time and that doesn’t do wonders for the movie. I dare say that humor is absolutely necessary in a film like this. It could be in part due to the age of the film so the humor attempts don’t really resonate but again, I’ve seen plenty of old films with snappy dialogue and solid characters. This one just isn’t one of them.

Overall, Little Women is a movie that has not withstood the test of time. I saw a film similar to this one a while back that was also not very good. The premise just needs something to give it an extra boost that this one didn’t have. If you’re going to check this film out then just be ready for a fairly uneventful experience. If you want a film with a little more excitement then you should check out the original Ghost Rider instead. Of course, that movie is very different right from the start. If you want more of a slice of life adventure then check out the original Odd Couple film. That one’s got a lot more interesting moments to it.

Overall 4/10