The fourth screen adaptation of Louisa May Alcott's classic 1869 novel, LITTLE WOMEN, is given a realistic and rounded treatment by screenwriter Jo Swicord and Australian director Gillian Armstrong, whose perspective emphasizes a feminist tone. The story chronicles the lives of a mother and four daughters and their daily toils during the Civil War in the absence of their father, a Union army chaplain. Winona Ryder (in an Oscar-nominated performance) is vibrant as Jo, the least conventional of the sisters. Christian Bale captures the ebullience of their neighbor, Laurie, whose company Jo enjoys so much it seems inevitable that they will end up together. Kirsten Dunst (at age 12) gives a fiery performance as the younger Amy, proving even more willful than Jo; Claire Danes brings a mysterious otherworldliness to Beth. LITTLE WOMEN, touchingly rendered, has many subtle moments and an appropriately moving visual sense to accompany the narrative. Susan Sarandon and Gabriel Byrne also star in this well-crafted film.
Main Cast & Crew:
Gillian Armstrong - Director
- Format: DVD (Collector's Edition)
- Run Time: 118
- Color Format: Color
- UPC: 043396050440
- Genre: Drama
- Rating: PG (MPAA)
- Release Date: April 2000
LITTLE WOMEN is based on Louisa May Alcott's classic 1869 novel about a family's struggles during the Civil War while the father, a Union army chaplain, is away. Together, the mother (Susan Sarandon) and her four daughters face hardships, love, and grief while helping each other realize their hopes and dreams. The fourth, latest cinematic version of the much-loved book follows the adventures and romances of Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy March as they grow up and become young women. Winona Ryder was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress for her portrayal of Jo; other supporting players include Claire Danes, Kirsten Dunst, Christian Bale, and Gabriel Byrne.
Theatrical release: December 1994. The locations for LITTLE WOMEN included Craigdarroch Castle, Victoria, British Columbia; Cobble Hill, British Columbia; Deerfield, Massachusetts; and Orchard House, Concord, Massachussets.
"...Armstrong's enchantingly pretty film is so potent that it prompts a rush of recognition from the opening frame....[Ryder] plays Jo with spark and confidence..." - 12/21/1994 New York Times, p.C13
"...Winona Ryder is a delightfully rompish Jo..." -- 4 out of 4 stars - 02/17/1995 USA Today, p.4D
"...[A] glowing new adaptation....Accessibly, appealingly contemporary..." -- Rating: A - 01/13/1995 Entertainment Weekly, p.41
"...Beguiling....LITTLE WOMEN brings alive the past so vividly but perceives it through a contemporary sensibility so acute that you have the feeling that you're watching life unfolding before you..." - 12/21/1994 Los Angeles Times, p.F1
"...[The actresses create] the warmth and familiarity of a real family..." - 12/21/1994 Chicago Sun-Times, p.45