Little Women: A Study

Some friends and I saw the 2019 film Little Women soon after it was released. I was curious to see how it would compare to the 1994 version, which I’ve watched 20+ times.

Of course it couldn’t compare to a film that I’ve watched 20+ times. I’ve loved the hell out of the 1994 version. All of the actors seems perfectly cast; the soundtrack is great. It just makes me feel warm and fuzzy.

The 2019 film was a delightful retelling of the story. I enjoyed the acting, cinematography, costumes. I appreciated the insertion of some feminist dialogue. But did it make me feel warm and fuzzy? Not really.

Since I know the 1994 version so well, I was comparing certain plot points and noticing differences (and similarities) in the dialogue in the two versions. These musings led me to decide to watch every film version of Little Women that I could find. Wikipedia says there are seven versions.

I watched my third version a few weeks ago: the 1933 version starring Katharine Hepburn as Jo. The scene that sticks in my mind is when Jo refuses Laurie. As I watched it, I thought, “This is IT.” Something about the dialogue and acting just clicked. Jo’s decision seems almost feasible vs. completely infuriating. Jo seems genuinely sad and full of regret. Laurie also seems a little bit more mature in his response.

Netflix doesn’t have any other versions available, so I need to check my library next. I hope I can find a few other versions to continue my study. Have you seen any other versions of Little Women?

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