With a 32% rating from Rotten Tomatoes and a 4.6 out of 10 on IMDB, I was nervous about going to see the new adaptation of Little Women. I'd also convinced one of my closest friends to accompany me, and after raving about the book, it's been a bitter pill to swallow if the movie was absolutely lame.
Well, lucky for me, neither of us are very film-literate, so we were able to look past whatever flaws in acting and the set that critics had discovered, and both of us loved the movie.
I think I cried at least five times and my friend had about the same count. I first read Little Women back in middle school. Since then, I read it at least once a year, not only because it's beautiful and a literary masterpiece, but because it makes me want to be a better person.
It's the sort of story I would read before crafting my New Year's Resolution because there's a goodness in it that I've never been able to describe—it's sort of like oatmeal, beautiful in its simplicity and wholeheartedness.
I could never bring myself to watch the first adaptation, so I can't compare with some die-hard fans (mostly because I have never been able to fully forgive Alcott for making Laurie end up with Amy, instead of Jo). And this version is different from the original—it's Little Women set in the 21st century and that's sure to create some changes.
I really liked the fact that they changed it up a bit; if they hadn't, I would have likely spent the entire movie hunting for flaws and reasons why the book was so much better than the movie. Knowing that the movie wasn't supposed to be a perfect reflection of the book enhanced my enjoyment.
It was truly beautiful.
Even in a modern setting, I could feel the personalities of each March sister and how they managed those personalities as they grew. Their adventures brought back nostalgic memories of my own childhood and while the flashbacks were somewhat confusing in how they were organized, I loved seeing that the movie stayed true to the essence of the film.
Jo was still the stubborn, opinionated, aspiring writer; Meg was the beautiful voice of reason; Amy was the irritating, tender-hearted artist and Beth was the sweet, good one. Was Professor Bhaer a completely different personality? Yes, but at least he matched up well enough against Laurie that I could almost forgive Amy for taking Jo's man.
They may have not exactly connected to their book personalities, but there was a uniqueness to each that I enjoyed observing.
I think I'll make it a habit to watch this movie at least once a year, too—for the same reason I reread the book. It reminds me about what's important in life (and helps me appreciate my own little sister far more than I normally do). It may seem like a feel-good movie, but it has some important messages at its heart. Once you've watched the movie, you'll understand what I mean when I say that I, like Jo March, want to do 'all the things.'