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Little Women

movie reviewmovie review out of 4

All-Reviews.com Movie Review: Little Women

Starring: Winona Ryder, Susan Sarandon
Director: Gillian Armstrong
Rated: PG
RunTime: 118 Minutes
Release Date: December 1994
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Family, Kids


*Also starring: Gabriel Byrne, Samantha Mathis, Kirsten Dunst, Trini Alvarado, Claire Danes, Christian Bale, Eric Stoltz, Mary Wickes



Reviewer Roundup
1.  Steve Rhodes review follows movie reviewvideo review
2.  Andrew Hicks read the review movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review

Review by Steve Rhodes
1½ stars out of 4

LITTLE WOMEN is the story of four sisters and their mother. They have a father, but he remains pretty much a non-person through the entire show. The movie is set in Concord, Mass. in what appears to be somewhere between say 1800 and 1890. Eventually in the middle of the movie we are finally told that the show is firmly set in the 1860s because the missing and almost never mentioned father is off fighting a war. [And he probably thought they missed him a lot and appreciated he was risking his life to save his country!]

Did I say the show had four sisters and their mother? I lied. It has four saints who are sisters, and who all live with their even more sainted mother. These five perfect females have a few males around them at times for decoration, but it is the women's show.

The movie is populated with all of the latest heart throbs from Hollywood (Winona Ryder, Trini Alvarado, Samantha Mathis, Kirsten Dunst, Gabriel Byrne, Christian Bale, and Eric Stoltz) and with Susan Sarandon in the Mother Teresa role. The acting is all incredibly shallow, but this is a fault of the script they were given. The characters are two dimensional stick figures. They do absolutely no wrong.

If they had made them more believable and less sugary sweet, one could have cared about them when tragedy struck. As it was, I just felt like the script was being manipulative. Yes, maybe this is a problem with the book as well. Frankly, I do not remember the novel that well.

Another smaller irritant was the role of the mother saint. It seemed like half of her dialog were sermons on the need for female equality. I had no problem with what she was saying, but it was delivered so preachy that it seemed stilted and unreal. I found myself wondering if the book gave this subject so much emphasis or if this was a little revisionist writing.

On the good side, you have never seen more lovely scenes of New England snow (actually filmed in Victoria, Canada). Curier and Ives could not have done it better. The cinematography inside was equally stunning with wonderful warm candlelight glow yet bright enough to be able to see things well. Finally, I loved the last minute of the show. The outdoor images there were striking and almost moving.

The movie runs way too long at 1:50. I lost track of how many times I looked at my watch wondering how much longer I had to sit there and endure it. It is rated PG but should have been G since there is no sex, nudity, violence or even a single gosh darn. The only reason for the PG rating is that some of the themes (sickness and death) are more mature. I do not recommend this show to anyone. Nevertheless, I suspect there is a large audience for this movie especially among girls from say 10 to 16. I give it * 1/2 strictly for the setting and the cinematography.

Copyright 1996 Steve Rhodes

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