Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
100 Greatest Videos Games Of All Time
Robin Williams: The Big Interview
Empire Visits The Hobbit's VFX Team
Nick Frost:
My Movie Life

The World's End star's pick of the flicks
4Music's Size Does Matter
Introducing your new favourite app
Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
U
Cast
Winona Ryder
Susan Sarandon
Christian Bale
Gabriel Byrne
Samantha Mathis
Claire Danes.
Directors
Gillian Armstrong.
Screenwriters
Kirsten Dunst
Robin Swicord.
Running Time
118 minutes

LATEST FILM REVIEWS
Keeper Of Lost Causes, The
3 Star Empire Rating
If I Stay
2 Star Empire Rating
Let's Be Cops
3 Star Empire Rating
Obvious Child
4 Star Empire Rating
Million Dollar Arm
4 Star Empire Rating



5 STAR REVIEWS
Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari, The
5 Star Empire Rating
Two Days, One Night
5 Star Empire Rating
Some Like It Hot
5 Star Empire Rating
A Hard Day's Night
5 Star Empire Rating
Boyhood
5 Star Empire Rating

Little Women
An autobiographically inspired classic of American girlhood.


submit to reddit


Plot
The story of the life and loves of the four March sisters in 1860s New England.


Review
Louisa May Alcott's perennial charmer, an autobiographically inspired classic of American girlhood, has been filmed periodically as an actresses showcase, notably George Cukor's superb 1933 version starring Katharine Hepburn and the more syrupy 1949 movie with Margaret O'Brien and Elizabeth Taylor.

Pretty and quaint for the 90s but still compelling, it's a character-rich, incident-packed story set around the four March girls: the beauteous Meg (Trini Alvarado); the fragile Beth (Claire Danes); the vain, emotional Amy (played at 12 by the precocious tough-act-to-follow dynamo Dunst, and at 16-plus by the comparatively wan Samantha Mathis); and, particularly, the spirited, life-embracing Jo (Ryder). They may be poor, but they have the advantage of a wise and womanly role model in their mother (Sarandon), prophet of the New Woman.

Opening in New England during the Civil War and spanning the 1860s, it's beautifully mounted to capture the age and the passing seasons, though director Gillian Armstrong never lets the production values overwhelm the gentle sketches of girlish hopes and pastimes tempered by the trials of life.

The team fielded as supporting men is an attractive one too. Eric Stoltz appears as Meg's hard-up but refined suitor; Christian Bale is utterly huggable as the boy next door, Laurie, whose adoration of the colourful March family focuses on Jo; and, as the older, impoverished immigrant Professor Bhaer, a fine Byrne - the first to play this pivotal character with clear attractions besides the intellectual to explain Jo's fervent admiration of him.

Families who flocked to The Secret Garden will be more than satisfied with the values and virtues so entertainingly expounded here. Fellas who dote on Winona should be pleasantly surprised, as well as subject to some moistness around the eyes.


Verdict
A lovely story and vivacious stars make this warm-hearted saga of home, family and growing up - written, directed and produced by women - a joyful standard bearer in the new wave of "women's pictures".


Reviewed by Angie Errigo

Write Your Review
To write your review please login or register.

Your Reviews

Average user rating for Little Women
Empire Star Rating

Power To Little Women!

This movie is perfect for all the family, nothing harmful at all to corrput their minds. There is romance, sister love, sadness, laughter, fun and beautiful landscapes. The peformances are strong and wonderful, Winona Rider is perfect as Jo who creates the story at the end and finally finding love with Gabriel Byrne. Christian Bale is handsome and totally frowning-free in this, he screams sexy no matter what! A powerful, moving film with amazing pefomances and a strong script. So much better tha... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by joanna likes films at 11:32, 25 July 2008 | Report This Post


They don't make them like this anymore...

The 21st century seems far too cynical for films such as 'Little Women', which is a great shame - every film has to rely on some sort of gimmick or catch in order to secure that big opening weekend, rather than allow a beautiful, emotional drama such as this slowly build up word-of-mouth. Okay, so it doesn't really deserve the five stars, but I admit I'm trying to tip the balance of user ratings higher, it certainly was better than 3 stars - a magnificent cast in a truly heart warming and heart ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by jura86 at 00:28, 05 July 2006 | Report This Post


RE: Little Women

L: Fenwick I personally dont like Winona Ryder That would be most good. ] good..." Haha. Awesome. ... More

Posted by Monkey Wrench at 10:44, 02 June 2006 | Report This Post


RE: Little Women

*SPOILERS* The Cukor film is unquestionably the finest adaptation, though I have a soft, mushy spot for Mervyn LeRoy's cloying, manipulative 1949 Technicolo(u)r version.  The shameless shifting around of the character's ages to kill off the obscenely talented (and appealing) Margaret O'Brien is a cruel masterstroke and gives the film a real emotional kick.  Further, any film with C. Aubrey Smith, Janet Leigh and Elizabeth Taylor in has got to be worth a look, ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by rick_7 at 17:45, 01 June 2006 | Report This Post


RE: Little Women

Not the worst version, I personally dont like Winona Ryder but she was good in this. Nothing compares to the 1933 Cukor version though! ... More

Posted by Fenwick at 20:30, 29 May 2006 | Report This Post


RE: Little Women

Cerainly a beautiful film made of a wonderful story. The set and cast are very enjoyable. Despite the radiant Winona Ryder as Jo and Kirsten Dunst as Amy it seems like Claire Danes as Beth is stealing the show. This is a movie to enjoy with all senses and sentiments. It will make you laugh, it will make you cry and you will love it. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Lorelai at 18:49, 29 May 2006 | Report This Post


Little Women

A beautifully considered and fabulously directed film. Huge production value, wonderful sets and fabulous costumes convincingly bring us into the late 19th century. Great performances also by Susan Sanrandon and a very young Kirsten Dunst but, for me, let down by Winona Rider, who doesn't have the gravitas for this role, and the terrible German accent of Gabriel Byrne. In terms of the script, there are interesting character arcs but it seems to lose a little pace and direction in the second hour... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by qualidad at 13:29, 28 May 2006 | Report This Post


SPECIAL FEATURE
The 301 Greatest Movies Of All Time EMPIRE READERS' POLL: THE 301 GREATEST MOVIES OF ALL TIME
You turned out in your hundreds and thousands, and here are the results... Browse the full list


CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
Exclusive: Luc Besson Talks Lucy
'There is no bullshit with Scarlett Johansson'

Video: Daniel Radcliffe Talks What If...
On Gordon Ramsay, swearing and date movies

The 24 Best Film-Related Ice Bucket Challenges
The viral craze that won’t quit takes in some of Hollywood’s finest

Who Shot First? The Complete List Of Star Wars Changes
An exhaustive chronology of George Lucas' post-release tinkering

Gamescom 2014: The 10 Most Exciting Games
Zombies! Guns! Tombs! Sheep! Watch the trailers right here...

Who Is Mack Bolan? Your Guide To Cinema's New Action Man
As Bradley Cooper lines up to star as the hero, here's your handy guide to his story so far

Film Studies 101: A Film Buff's Guide To Movie Movements
Everything you need to know about cinema's key groups

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Get 6 Issues Of Empire For Only £15!

Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month!

Subscribe today

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Get The Empire iPad Edition Today

Subscribe and save maney on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Get 6 issues of Empire for just £15!
Get the world's greatest movie magazine delivered straight to your door! Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire iPad Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  iPad  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)