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.