- Acting of Lead Performers
- Acting of Supporting Cast
- Music Score
- Title Sequence
- Historical Importance
- Would You Recommend?
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little women 1994
- kevin sellers
The best of the three Hollywood whacks at Louisa M. Alcott's classic 'cause it's the least sentimental, although emphatically not the least teary. I defy even the biggest film cynic not to be somewhere in the neighborhood of weepy during Beth's death scene, which is easily the best cinematic rendition of that particular bit of lugubriousness. Helping to give this film a sharper edge than its two predecessors is director Gillian Armstrong and screenwriter Robin Swicord's ability to bring the March family out of its Disneyish, Christmas cocoon (most annoyingly evident in the 1949 incarnation) and into the emerging feminism and Civil War angst of Concord Mass. in the 1860s. As for the acting, it runs the gamut from good (Winona Ryder/Christian Bale) to ok (Trini Alvarado) to miscast (Gabriel Byrne) to well nigh perfect (Claire Danes). So, even though it's irksomely shot in Canada, with 1860s New York looking like a Gilmore Girls set, this is a wonderful work that Greta Gerwig will have a hard time topping. Give it an A minus. P.S. Lovely "American Experience" music by Thomas Newman, especially the title theme.
Compared to the '33 & '49 versions...
- Jarrod McDonald
Some things work, other things don't. I think Sarandon brings something unique to the role of Marmee; she's not as glamorous as Mary Astor, and her earthiness actually serves the part well. Wynona is good, very good in fact, and physically she resembles Kay Francis who plays Jo in Little Men. Most of the other actors seem miscast. They are Hollywood youth known for their wildness (and Wynona even has a criminal record), so it's hard to buy most of them playing wholesome characters. Gabriel Byrne does fine, but he's Irish, not German (Brazzi in the 49 version was Italian). What I like least about this one is that I think director Gillian Armstrong is trying to make the visuals perfect (and they are), but the film lacks heart and deeply resonant emotion when it gets too aesthetic. One major difference in this one compared to the earlier films is the extensive use of outdoor locations for filming, which serves the wedding scene very well and Jo and Bhaer's reunion at the end. Another plus is the inclusion of Mary Wickes in a final screen role. She's wonderful as Aunt March. But she and Sarandon can't make up for the miscasting of some of the younger actors which gives the story an anachronistic feel.
Little Women (1994)
The is the best filmed version of the classic story. The cast is perfect. Winona Ryder makes an outstanding Jo. The art direction and costumes are outstanding, the supporting cast is wonderful. Fine cinematography and truer to the book than any other version. Superb period detail.
This is a good movie, but not as absolutly fantastic as the 1933 version. I suggest that you see that one before you see this one. It is so much better. Probably because I am in love with Katharine Hepburn.