Little Women (1994)

The March sisters. Being 1 of 4 sisters myself, I suppose I should relate more to them, but I do not. I’ve never had a warm or fuzzy feeling for these women, and I do not foresee one suddenly coming on.

In 1994, director Gillian Armstrong decided to cast 3 famous little women, and 1 unknown. I wonder if she just ran out of budget. As Meg March, Trini Alvarado comes from left field and does little to distinguish herself. Pay her no mind. We all know that Meg is not that important. It’s next in line Jo (Winona Ryder) who has set herself up as the head of sisters and all things, the playwright and boss. Little Beth (Claire Danes) is the retiring, sweet one. And of course there’s Amy (Kirsten Dunst), the youngest and the sauciest, always finding trouble to get into, such as bringing limes to school, and falling through the ice.

Winona Ryder, Claire Danes, Kristen Dunst: can you get any more 90s than that lineup? MV5BNWRkOWVjZmMtMGEwOC00NDQzLWIwYWYtNDFkOGFiNTUyMWJjXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMjA5MTIzMjQ@._V1_SY1000_SX678_AL_Susan Sarandon plays their matriarch, ‘Marmee’ – a big name for giving her so very little to do. But this is not a story about mothers, it’s a story about sisters, and no story about sisters can be told without boys, which is why floppy-haired Christian Bale is installed next door, and he’s making some interesting acting choices. He seems to have decided to go with “effeminate Keanu Reeves” for his portrayal of Laurie.

This version is a perfectly acceptable adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s beloved story. So my beef is not so much with the movie, and I dare not say it’s with the novel, but I don’t care much for the story, which feels too precious and sappy to me. Which is the only reason I’m not freaking out about Greta Gerwig and Saoirse Ronan reteaming. They’ve already been hard at work on Gerwig’s version of Little Women, with Ronan as Jo, of course. And Emma Watson and wholesome Meg and Eliza Scalen as boring Beth and Florence Pugh as a surprisingly elderly Amy. Oh, and Timothee Chalamet, of course, as Laurie. And Laura Dern as Marmee, and Meryl Streep as crazy ole Aunt March, so consider my heart irretrievably broken.

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