Holiday Movie Month: "Little Women" Review

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The March sisters live and grow in post-Civil War America.
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Holiday Movie Month: "Little Women" Review

Rating: PG
Length: 115 minutes
Release Date: Dec. 21, 1994
Directed by: Gillian Armstrong
Genre: Drama/Romance

"Little Women" is a film that will touch your heart. It's a tale that reminds the audience of what is truly important in life. Based on the lives of the March family in post-Civil War America, it is a memorable movie filled with laughter, tears, and romance. "Little Women" is a story you will not soon forget.

Jo March (Winona Ryder) is a rebel, a writer, an actress and, most importantly, a sister to Meg March (Trini Alvarado), Beth March (Claire Danes), and Amy March (Kirsten Dunst, Samantha Mathis). The March sisters miss their father, who is away due to the war. Their mother, Mrs. March (Susan Sarandon) and Aunt March (Mary Wickes) care for them with very little means. Although they are poor financially, we learn they are rich at heart. During incredibly challenging times, these little women, as their mother refers to them, grow to understand life's difficulties and joys.

In a makeshift attic theater, the audience encounters a strong-willed and dramatic Jo as well as her older sister, Meg, who adores and mothers her siblings. We meet Beth, a sweet and delicate young girl who is ailing, and Amy, the youngest, who pines to meet her future husband. They entertain themselves by writing and play-acting in their own stories.They torment as well as teach each other as they eventually mature into women who find their respective places in life. While the story takes us back to a time that may appear to be less enlightened when it comes to the roles of women, these little women acknowledge their unique talents and hungers to become productive members of society. In this way, "Little Women" is a more progressive and provocative story than one may expect. Over the years, it has become a motivating saga that inspires as it entertains women and girls alike to recognize their own talents in the modern age.

Ultimately, the sisters mourn the loss of one of their own. Moreover, they learn to understand that life isn't easy, but it is beautiful. They fall in and out of love. They marry and some have children. Throughout it all, the March sisters show us what a family can do to overcome problems, and how to strive for the common good of all.

"Little Women" received three Academy Awards nominations in1995 for Best Costume Design, Best Music, and for Best Actress in a Leading Role by Winona Ryder. In the same year, Winona Ryder won the Best Actress category at the Kansas City Film Critics Circle Awards. "Little Women" received two nominations at the Chicago Film Critics Association Awards in 1995 for Best Supporting Actress in recognition of Claire Danes' role, while the Best Actress nomination went toWinona Ryder. Little Women received three nominations for the Chlotrudis Awards in 1995 for Best Movie; the nominees for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress were Winona Ryder and Kirsten Dunst, respectively. At the Young Artist Awards in 1995, Claire Danes received a nomination along with Kirsten Dunst who won the award for Best Performance by a Young Actress Co-Starring in a Motion Picture. In the prior year, Kirsten Dunst received the Best Supporting Actress Award from the Boston Society of Film Critics for the same role. With such a great cast, it is no wonder that the Casting Society of America nominated "Little Women" for Best Casting for Feature Film, Drama. It received a nomination at the 1995 BAFTA Awards for Best Costume Design and won the BMI Film Music Award in the same year.

Based on the novel by Louisa May Alcott, Little Women received a nomination in 1995 from the Writers Guild of America for Best Screenplay based on Material Previously Produced or Published. This was not the only recognition afforded the writers. In 1995, the USC Scripter Awards recognized the work of Robin Swicord as screenwriter and Louisa May Alcott as author for "Little Women" with nominations. Lastly, "Little Women" received a nomination for the Golden Satellite Award for Best Classic DVD for the Classic Masterpiece Book and DVD set.

"Little Women" offers an endearing storyline exhibiting the importance of family in our lives. It is reminiscent of days gone by, yet not so long ago, as it exemplifies the values, trials, and triumphs of a loving family persevering and reveling through life. It is a family favorite and an enduring tribute to American film.

Rating: 4 out of 5