Thursday, September 13, 2012

Little Women (1994)

I can't quite remember the first time I saw this movie... but it was a few years ago. I enjoyed it a lot. I hadn't read the book and knew that the book must be better because it always is, but didn't end up reading it until earlier this year. Now that I have, I can review the movie with a clear conscience. Heehee.

The thing is, I'm not really used to doing movie reviews... usually I have a brief overview with all the adaptations of a particular book, but I didn't feel like doing that this time. Anyways, I definitely think this is the best version, although I've only seen two others so if you mention another one you liked, I might even be convinced to watch it. ;-)

Hmm, where to start? Well, I guess I'll just start with the main characters. That's easy enough. Hopefully.

Meg. A funny thing about this movie is that for me, it's actually pretty hard to compare it to the book, and it's the same way with the characters. I mean, with a lot of adaptations of classic literature you can say "This actress completely slaughtered the character," or "This actress got her to a T!" but with this movie, none of them really like the character in the book, but they're not really unlike them either. Anyway, I actually liked Meg pretty well. The movie being a normal movie-length and not a mini-series it wasn't long enough to get to know the characters very well, but in a general sense I think it was pretty good. She seems, perhaps, even a little more... gentle, I guess, in the movie.

Jo. La, what to say about Jo? She's one of those endearing characters you just have to love. As far as accuracy to the book, it's the same as what I was saying about Meg. I found the actress' portrayal very delightful and not contradictory to the book, yet not the same. But looking just at the movie, which is what I should be focusing on, I liked her a lot. She was funny and quite interesting--you know, there's a lot to her. And I always find myself drawn to characters who are bookworms and writers. It's just the way things are. And she's definitely my favorite sister in the movie. :)

Beth. Now, I'm a little more opinionated about the book-to-movie aspect here. I did think Claire Danes was a little contrary to the book's Beth... but not in a way easy to put my finger on. I guess she just irritated me a little. And in looks I just don't think she suited her too well, but it's not like I hated the portrayal. It was just okay. By the way, in the book Jo and Beth were closest to each other, and Meg and Amy were more of a pair, too. This wasn't very obvious in the movie: especially the latter.

Amy. (Isn't it funny how Amy is the only March sister with a name that can't be/isn't shortened?) For her, there are two actresses who play the character--one younger, one older. (And I'm glad they did this, because it's ridiculous when they have a twenty-something-year-old trying to play a character who's twelve.) The younger one seems to be the main one, though; when it gets to the part after Meg's wedding it seems like the whole movie turns its focus almost solely on Jo (which isn't the way it is in the book), though the focus is on her most of the time anyways. I don't like her when she's older, either. Amy, I mean. When she's younger, she annoys me some of the time (and I can never forgive her for burning Jo's book, no matter what Marmee may choose to say upon the subject) but I really do like her. She's funny and cute. The other one... there isn't much of her and when she is there she just seems rather like a cold, boring person. (Though after she marries...er, who she marries; should I be trying to write this without spoilers, I wonder?--she at least seems nice.) It was much better in the book. Actually, I was pleased to find that I liked Amy altogether better in the book. But especially when she's older.

Mrs. March (Marmee). I actually liked her acting rather well. The only complaints I have would be more the fault of the scriptwriter, and I rambled about my irritation in this post quite enough that at this point it will do as well to be silent. (Er, that last part was a Mr. Collins quote... sorry.) Anyway, again, everything is more detailed and you know a lot more about characters (and in this case, the relationship with their daughters) from reading the book, but let's just assume that from this point on, shall we?

Laurie. Hmm... he was all right. He wasn't really the Laurie of the book though, and his teeth irritated me. :P He was funny, though, and of course I like that. It was fun watching him and Jo. "If only I were the swooning type!" "If only I were the catching type!" But later on, after The Refusal... arrghh. I disliked him. More, I daresay, than the viewer is supposed to. Heh. But he wasn't all bad.

Professor Bhaer. I liked him, I really did. And then I read the book. It's the same old story. I like them both in different ways but the book's is better. I will confess, though, that there was one thing I liked better about him in the movie: the absence of a beard. Heehee. And I'll pull out the excuse not to say much about him because it might give away some of the stories for those who don't know it already. If indeed there are such people reading this. ;-)

Okay. I'll move on from characters now.

Grrrr. 

The costumes were lovely. I enjoyed them very much--and I really liked the 'real' feel they had to them, well suited to the story. And the hairstyles and all that. A lot of Victorian period dramas I see are, of course, set in England and the people are either rich and have a lot of fancy, fluffy clothes, or they're very poor and haven't anything fit to be seen. Haha. But the Marches, in comparison with those sort of things, are more in-between. They dresses were often practical yet detailed and interesting and just nice. And then of course some of the ball gowns and Older Amy's clothes are more rich-y.


The soundtrack was also very nice. As an actual soundtrack, I don't usually listen to it by itself all the way through very much... sometimes just a few songs, mainly the dance songs. But in the actual movie I think it goes quite well, and the main theme is nice. And sort of Christmassy. I guess that's because it plays at the beginning, and the movie starts on Christmas Eve.

Ooh, that's another nice thing about this movie... it has a lot of Christmas in it! and I do love Christmas. But enough of it isn't Christmas so that you can watch it other times too without feeling guilty. Haha.

Isn't the kitten cuuuuute?
As far as accuracy to the book goes... well, it's probably more like a general overview of the story. Little Women isn't really the shortest children's classic in the world. And they did change some things, but for the most part they didn't stray from the story terribly.

As a movie, I'd probably give it an A or A-. There's something delightful about it, but it's not one of the period dramas I go crazy over. (Some of you may doubt I ever do that. It's just in my own way, you know. :P)

I hardly think a review is complete without a trailer, so here's one, but it hath Spoilers. If you don't already know the story, I wouldn't recommend watching it. Also, some trailers I just find really fun to watch and they capture the spirit of the movie they're representing... this isn't one of them. (And why didn't they use music from the movie? Instead, music from this movie is used on other trailers... S&S95, for example.) But it does include one or two of my favorite quotes. :)

That's about it! Sorry this was so long in coming, everyone. I am a very sad procrastinator at times.

9 comments:

Maria Elisabeth said...

It took me almost half the post for me to decide if this is the Little Women I watched or not. My friend and I only looked it up on youtube because we were dreadfully bored, but I think it is.

I DON'T like those collars the girls are wearing. Ridiculous things. But a lot of Older Amy's clothes do look quite good, though. I do like older Amy, actually. She seems to care about being ladylike, actually fits with... well, the guy that she marries (don't kill me, please,) and she's not Jo. Everyone else (including you, but that's not the point) likes Jo and I want to be different for a change.

I like Jo too, of course, but still. I wish I could remember how that actress portrayed her. It wasn't quite Jo, I remember thinking when I watched it. It was very sensible of you to put in the trailer. I should go watch it...

Miss Dashwood said...

Oooooh, now I finally get to read this! I've been expectorating it ever since Bad Blogger gave me that little teazing tantalization when it published by mistake a few weeks ago...

Anyways, you will be gratified to learn that I was nodding my head and giggling and mm-hmm-ing throughout the whole thing. Meg struck me as being more gentle too! How funny. :D

As far as Jo goes... hmm, well, I'm not quite sure she wasn't contradictory to the book. Okay, well, contradictory is too strong a word. Maybe "not quite in line" would be better. There was just something... different... that I couldn't quite put my finger on. I didn't get the same sense of Jo's blundering good intentions that I did in the book. She wasn't as rowdy. Pity, that. I would have loved to see the cooking experiments part in the movie, wouldn't you?

Ugh, Claire Danes wasn't a good Beth AT ALL. But then I don't think I've yet seen an onscreen Beth who fits the book Beth. Her death scene made me cry anyways (um apologies to anyone who just had that spoiled for them) tootuz I cry when anyone dies (yes, thank you Mary) but I think it was more because Jo was so sad than because she did a good job of dying. Ha... that sentence makes little sense.

I knowwwwwwww! Older Amy just seems so cold and boring. Ugh. She deserved the half-hearted blah-de-blah that Laurie became. Haha.

And Mrs. March... ugh. I prefuh Mrs. Dashwood (she did the voice of Marmee on the Radio Theatre dramatization, which is SOOOOO good).

Haha, Laurie's teeth irritated you TOO? Why do I not have a surprised feeling? I like him in the first half, but after that.... nyih. Much, much better in the book.

It might annoy you if I said that I'm too much of a stickler for accuracy to the book to be pleased by Professor Bhaer's lack of beard, so I'll skim over that fine point. But I WILL say that they rushed the whole Jo-and-Professor thing WAY too much in the movie. Kissing in the theater indeed. Did your mom know you were watching that? *Lydia-snort*

Haha, I love how you describe Amy's clothes as rich-y...

Oh, yes the kitten is amazingly cuuuuuuute!

Delightful review indeed, m'dear! Did I enjoy it much? Very.

Okay, that was pretty lame, but I wanted to use the quote. :P

Miss Dashwood said...

Oh, and also. I think you should...
a) listen to the Focus on the Family Radio Theatre dramatization of this, tootuz it is quite good indeed. And there's lots of recognizable period drama peoples in it. And it's four hours long. :D If you can't find it in your library system, you shall just have to listen to it with meeeeeee WWFV.

b) see the 1949 version with Elizabeth Taylor so we can make fun of it together. :D It's rather dreadful, but it does include some of the scenes that this one left out (like Amy and the limes) and it's just fun to poke fun at. Except Beth's death scene. Which is actually quite good. *sniffle*

Miss Dashwood said...

Good GRIEF, I'm commenting way too much tonight. I sowwee. Anyways, I just remembered that you didn't say anything about Mr. Brooke, and I wondahed what you thought of him. Did we talk about him? I can't remembah.

Alexandra said...

Wha-hoozie! Good to see ya.

BTW. Think about you every time I open my email and then I'm like, ugh, don't have time for a looooooooong email...would you prefer short and boring to nothing at all? Whatever you prefer. :-P

Anyway. LOVE this movie. Haven't seen it in a while...my mom loves it but doesn't watch it that often because Jo and Beth remind her of her and my aunt and since she passed away it makes it tough for her to watch it. I really need to just watch it on my own again...

My issue with Jo is that in the book she seems more of a cutesy tomboy that eventually grows out of it and matures, and this one is like, perpetually a tomboy and it gets annoying when she's older. My po there. :)

I HATE Mr. Brooke. Just sayin'. He's so ugly and Meg is so pretty. Totally shallow, but yeah.

Awwwww, Amyyyyyyyy. I love the opera scene. :-P Heheheee. Bad moi. Anyway. Laurie kinda annoyed me...kinda. Older Amy was rather flat after little Amy's exuberance (and I personally think wee Amy's really cute). ALSO I prefer Claire Danes' Beth to the older ones...I like Margaret O'Brien's all right, but a lot of times in the adaptations she comes across as wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy too sweet and it's like, blech. :-D Soooooo yeah. :-P

Marmee was ok but ever since seeing the actress in Enchanted I just think of her as the wicked Queen so that kinda ruined it for me. :-P

Ohhhhh, and Professor Bhaer -definitely my favorite. He's actually halfway...attractive, as shallow as that sounds...so you're not like, gross, Jo, marrying an old man (some of those old illustrations in the book!!!)...anyway. Randomness. :-P

Anyway! Thinking about you and good to see this up! :)

Miss Elizabeth Bennet said...

I've seen this version of Little Women a few times. To me, it was okay, but I didn't think it was great, but it wasn't bad (wow, that was a run-on sentence). I think I'll still watch the older versions when I get the chance.

Meg, Jo, and Beth March I liked, but I just didn't like Amy. I don't know if it was Kirsten Dunst's younger Amy that annoyed me a little or what, but I just didn't like her too much. Plus, she married... well, you know who. ;-)

Yes! I didn't like Laurie after the refusal! Then he went to Europe, got that weird mustache, and just became unlikable! He was so much better towards the beginning of the story!

I'm still upset that Jo married Professor Bhaer! He was just too old for her! Other than that, there wasn't much I could dislike in his character.

What was interesting with the costumes was that different costumes appear multiple times in the movie as hand-me-downs (I hadn't originally noticed this, but I saw pictures of it later). It's a very nice touch to show that the Marches aren't very wealthy, but not poor either. They have nice clothes, but they were passed down.

Great Review! I enjoyed reading it!

Miss Abilaine said...

Deeeeeeeeelightful review!

I like this one but I must say a do prefer the black and white version. :) But that is just me.

It is not JUST Laurie's teeth (yes, I find his teeth irritating as well) that bother me ... when I think about him. Don't you just hate his go-tee\beard thing when he goes to see Amy in France? Uggggghhhh!

I do like the Jo in this one best though. She is fun and very much like the book.

Meg is so sweet and gentle.

OK! Beth is a little ... different then she is in the book but I still like her in this version ... well enough.

And I agree with Alexandra when I say that I think Professor Bhaer is ... horrid. I did not like him even in the book. LOL!

Anyway ... very good review. :)

Melody said...

Maria,
Aww, what's so ridiculous about the collars? You critical girl. :P And anyway, I like Older Amy well enough in the book, you know. Just not as much in the movie, y'see. And I think she DOES rather fit with who she marries, as you put it (in the book anyways), and it would have been fine and well, even cute, if he hadn't gone for A Certain Somebody Else first. Ahem. That just Changes Things. And I said I liked Jo best in the movie. I'm not sure who I like best in the book. I like and dislike all of them in different ways.
Well, good, I like to be sensible. Heehee. Thanks for the comment!

Mousie dear,
Expectorating it... hahahahahaha. ;D I didn't notice that until just now.
Yes, Bad Blogger. And do you know what else Bad Blogger did? Well, when the post published, I went "Uh-oh!" and clicked 'save as draft'... so then when I finally finished the thing and published it, it went underneath my other latest post and said August 29th on it. I was like Whaaaaaaat? Haha. So I had to copy & paste the thing onto a whole new post... anyways.
I am gratified indeed. :)
Yes, yes, What You Said about Jo. Haha.
Hahahahaha... yeah, I probably cried over the situation in general more than Beth's acting which actually irritates me during that part. Heh, heh, heh.
Speaking of teeth irritating people. In Mansfield Park they talk about Henry Crawford having good teeth (???) and in the mini-series they say it too, but the actor's teeth annoy me, haha.
Ha! That's no less than I expected of you. :P But then, facial hair probably doesn't bug you as much as it does me. :P And you would be more likely to be stickler for the book than I would... but I must say, if S&S said that Col. Brandon had a beard, I would be pleased if he didn't have one in the movie, and I am a very great stickler for book-to-movie accuracy when it comes to JA.
BAHAHA... my brother-in-law would have had no idea we'd get so much amusement from that three years later. Hahaha.
I'm glad you enjoyed it much very. ;)
Ah, I might be interested in listening to that someday. After I've taken a bit of a break. Haha. I remember a librarian I used to always talk to (I was her pen pal too, heehee) saying that she was listening to some Little Women thing like that... merhaps it was the same one! But 'twould be fun to listen to it with youuuuuuuu. Indubitably. Only we'd probably have to stop it every five seconds to say something. Ha.
Hmm, well then YOU should see the one with Katharine Hepburn so we can make fun of THAT together. :P
Don't be sorry for commenting so much, Goosie! And I thought about John Brooke, but then I decided I didn't want to bother with him. Hahaha. I didn't like him very well on there. And there wasn't enough of him, anyway. "He's as dull as powder, Meg! Can't you at least marry someone amusing?"

Melody said...

Alexandra,
Haha, thank you. Good to see you too. *curtseys*
Well, I am must gratified to think that there are people who think of me every time they open their email, hahaha, but it's just possible I would prefer short to nothing at all. I won't say short and boring because I probably wouldn't find them boring. :P Or you could write short things every so often and then when it's accumulated into something long, send that. Hahahaha.
And of course, technically you don't have to email me at all. You're the one what brought it up. ;D
Aww, that's sad about your mom. :( I was also very sad when I found out that Louisa May Alcott had based Beth on her sister, too. *sniff*
Really? I thought it did seem like Jo matured when she got older in the movie, and became more lady-like, too. But that's *my* po. Whatever a po is. o.O
HA! He's so ugly and Meg is so pretty... hahahaha. Oh dear.
Ah yes, the opera scene. Whenever I watch that half of me wants to despise it and the other half wants to like it, and in general it just makes me feel sort of squirmy. I think I would have liked it better if they were about to kiss and then the noise interrupted them (that was funny) and then they just decide not to. HAHAHA.
OH MY GOODNESS, she was the wicked queen on Enchanted! Hahahaha. I totally didn't notice that the one time I watched it or whatever, but now that you say that I can picture it. HAHAHA. Hehehehe. Ahem.
Thanks for your comment, dear! :D

Miss Elizabeth Bennet,
Went to Europe, got that weird mustache and just became unlikable... heehee. Quite So.
Well, the truth is I've gotten rather used to age differences in classic literature from things like Jane Eyre and Emma, so that didn't bother me so much. If it was in real life it might. But in a book I tend to think it's okay. Ha!
Oh, yes! I didn't notice many of the costumes being handed down, but now that you say that, I remember Older Amy wearing one of her sister's dresses before she left for Europe.

Miss Abilaine,
Oh? Which black-and-white version do you mean? I believe there are more than one. :)
Oh, yes, the facial hair Laurie obtained later on made me positively disgusted. Hahaha. Definitely led to my dislike of him after that.
Pity you didn't like Professor Bhaer! I liked him a great deal in the book. :D
Thanks for your comment! I'm glad you enjoyed the review. :)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...