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5.0 out of 5 stars Orchard House
Deep in the heart of Women lie secrets that we men will no more discover than a treasure chest in our back yard, yet despite that fact after seeing this film, I had a new understanding about the jewels women possess internally. Wynona Ryder, Claire Danes, Trini Alvarado, and Kirsten Dunst, play four sisters(Joe, Beth, Meg, and Amy) that live the role's of fantasy within a...
Published on Aug. 5 2001 by Adam Hunnicutt

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not faithful to Alcott's classic tale
There were several things I found terribly jarring about this film, points at which I was not sure if I was viewing a film version of this classic tale or merely someone's political viewpoint showing through a fine veneer of Alcott's story. The beginning, which in the book shows the personality of the sisters through their conversation, is neglected. Winona Ryder isn't...
Published on Dec 9 2002 by Amazon Customer


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not faithful to Alcott's classic tale, Dec 9 2002
By 
Amazon Customer "lizo27" (San Antonio, TX United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Little Women (Collector's Series) (Bilingual) (DVD)
There were several things I found terribly jarring about this film, points at which I was not sure if I was viewing a film version of this classic tale or merely someone's political viewpoint showing through a fine veneer of Alcott's story. The beginning, which in the book shows the personality of the sisters through their conversation, is neglected. Winona Ryder isn't the best Jo- too pretty and piquant. They needed someone with more spirit, someone perhaps a little plainer. Claire Danes didn't work out as Beth, either-too tall and with too deep a voice. They needed someone smaller, and more timid looking. Kirsten Dunst made a good Amy, but I wanted a more clear transition to Mathis than was portrayed. Also, why all the feminist lines put into Marmee's mouth? And why the cutting out of nearly every mention of God when the Marches were devout Christians-Mr. March was a minister, for crying out loud! And Meg's declination of the silk dress because of the workers in China-come on, everyone who's read the book knows Meg wanted a silk dress. Too many important scenes were skipped, and the relationship between Jo and the Professor is not what it was in the book. Overall a very disappointing adaptation. I reccomend the Katherine Hepburn version.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Dubbed in French?, Feb. 28 2013
By 
L. Doucet (Québec (Québec)) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Little Women (Collector's Series) (Bilingual) (DVD)
Nope, no French on this dvd, so if you are buying it for the French version forget it. However, it is a great movie in English.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but flawed, April 3 2003
By 
Emily McB (Vancouver, Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Little Women (Collector's Series) (Bilingual) (DVD)
This is overall an enjoyable and fairly faithful adaptation of Louisa May Alcott's well-loved book, but it, like the other filmed versions, has its problems.
I wish, for instance, that they hadn't chosen to combine Alcott's first two books about the March family into one film. This results in many small but enjoyable scenes being cut or compressed, and some characters (Laurie's grandfather, for instance) all but ignored. Moreover, the second book, Good Wives, is more uneven and less enjoyable than Little Women--too sprawling and pat--which drags the second half of the film down.
Generally the performances are quite good. I like Winona Ryder's fiestiness and humour as Jo, although I feel that she was physically a little too pretty and delicate. Claire Danes was a disappointment, although she's usually very reliable. Her Beth was properly shy, but not soft and capable as she should be. Her retincence seemed almost like a mental handicap. Trini Alvarado was great as Meg, she really seemed like a product of that era, and Kirsten Dunst had Amy pretty much down pat. Samantha Mathis, playing the older Amy was all wrong though, too old to be only four years older (she looked older than Ryder) and far, far too stilted. Gabriel Byrne's professor was the perfect antidote to Christian Bale's Laurie, too. It was easy to see why Jo would choose The Professor...but then I'd take Gabriel Byrne over just about anyone.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I'll admit the photography was lovely..., Dec 18 2001
This review is from: Little Women (Collector's Series) (Bilingual) (DVD)
...but I barely recognised the story. Many of the traits that gave Louisa May Alcott's characters their charm were either played down or eliminated entirely.
Several other reviewers have amply treated the artificial, excessive feminism, and I agree with their viewpoints - in fact, it would have been annoying even in a film set in the year 2001. As well, it seemed that the vaguely bitter, obligatory feminism ruined the depiction of the girls themselves.
One of Louisa's most clever, concise parts of her book was the opening, wherein the conversations between the four sisters give the reader an excellent introduction to each of their characters. This scene, for reasons unknown, was eliminated - and, as later action would show, the girls, from tomboy Jo to forgivably vain Meg, are not to be permitted any traits that detract from a perfectly politically correct image.
For example, as a child reading the Alcott book, I most identified with Meg without having her prettiness - enjoying fine things, rather vain, envious of wealthier friends. When we first "meet" her in the book, she is pining for a silk dress (which her mother will not allow her until she is 18), and, in the later "party" sequence, Meg greatly enjoys being prettied until she overhears an elder acquaintance saying she'd been made a fool of. The film's Meg is an odd combination of Puritan and political activist - wanting to be pretty or well-dressed must be passé, she feels dreadful guilt about the (innocent) party, and she cannot wear silk because of the treatment of workers in China!
Though I myself am far from puritanical, and found some of the book's depictions of sacrifice to be puzzling (for example, how does denying one's self a small Christmas gift do anything for the soldiers?), one of the book's strongest themes is religious - witness the constant references to Pilgrim's Progress. One wonders, with this film, just why the sisters are so apparently deprived.
The photography is excellent, and sometimes stunning, and I imagine that those unfamiliar with the book will want this video on their shelves because it is "for the whole family." But don't obtain this one for anyone who has ever loved the original Little Women.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars This wasn't the time or place, Dec 8 2001
By 
J. Paderewski (Dallas, Texas USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Little Women 94 (VHS Tape)
It's a sad commentary on the state of political correctness when a book written in the 19th century has to be "updated" instead of being preserved as a precious reminder of times gone by. Are filmmakers so concerned with the bottom line that they don't think viewers are capable of recognizing a historical setting for what it is? The virtue of the novel is in its message - that love is eternal, surpassing youth, beauty, and riches. What part of that message can't be understood by a modern audience without "sanitizing it for our protection" against mores of bygone days? Why must we be hit on the head with the Anvil of Political Consciousness in a story where those notions had yet to be brought to the fore?
If the people making this movie had been truly interested in finding feminism in Louisa May Alcott's text, then they missed the boat in three enormous ways:
1. They made Jo the prettiest girl. That casting move left all of her lines about being an awkward tomboy sound as if she were fishing for compliments. What would have been so terrible about having someone less model-waif-starlet take the role? Go back and watch June Allyson and Katherine Hepburn in their turns as Jo - they weren't prettied up by the makeup artists and photographers, and it makes them all the stronger. By making Jo so lovely, the film accidentally moves against feminism by falling into the stereotype that even "little" women have to be beautiful. (To be fair, they also make Professor Bhaer unrecognizably handsome, missing the point for the male as well as female characters.)
2. They ignored the subtle textual references about Marmee having as severe a temper as Jo. Instead of showing Marmee shouting out a window about not wearing corsets, why not show her working to control her emotions for the good of her family? Why not show her desire to work for the betterment of the poor as an outlet for her frustration over being left at home? Can you imagine what Susan Sarandon could have done with material like that?
3. I'll grant that it would be hard to portray the changes in Amy, because in the novel most of them are happening in description rather than in her actions. Simply changing actresses in mid-stream isn't enough - we should have seen her growth from inside, her desire to become a good person rather than a rich one. Instead of seeing Laurie as her just reward for having made such a difficult journey, as we do in the book, it comes across as irony that someone so selfish should wind up with the rich boy next door.
Thanks, but no thanks - I'll go back to Katherine Hepburn or June Allyson (even though in the latter version it's obvious Joan Bennett was pregnant when she portrayed Amy), and take my message undiluted.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Gillian Armstrong's Career Tarnishes, Oct. 19 2001
By 
Rivkah Maccaby "Rivkah Maccaby" (Bloomington, IN United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Little Women 94 (VHS Tape)
One star for Winona Ryder, one star for Susan Sarandon, one star for Claire Danes; subtract one for Gillian Armstrong.
Gillian Armstrong has directed brilliant films before, and not just by title, so my expectations for this film were quite high, and I was sorely disappointed. What was this film about? These women love each other? Well, we knew that after the first four minutes, and left after was pretty sets, period costumes, and an oscar quality score.
It's all very nice and wrapped in a pretty bow, but Jo's speeches about feminism and women's place in the world seem like frayed edges someone forget to trim.
I can't help wondering whether in the early production stage, an associate remembered the cheering crowd at Cannes in 1979, after the unexpected film My Brilliant Career, and thought "Jo March is an American Sybylla Melvyn," then convinced the team to hire the director of My Brilliant Career to come to America and make Jo March's Brilliant Career.
The parallels are really there; they are not imagined: the seemingly obvious and perfect marriage turned down. The autobiographical manuscript bundled and mailed with those small feminine hands. To defy or not to defy; to be born homely and clever... the actress who seems striking by our standards, but homely by the standards of the time of the film.
And the undeniable talent of the starring actress. Winona Ryder has more than proved herself in the market, and among the critics.
I have no idea why it didn't work. I can't help thinking that most of the blame rests squarely on the head of Gillian Armstrong, who seems to sleepwalk her way through the film. This picture has no stamp of art on it. The actresses are all working very hard, and in many cases rise so high above a merely adequate script, that it is too bad there is not a special Academy Award for this.
It is unfortunate, but with so much potential, so much material to work with, the binding thread in this picture ends up being the pretty sets, and the well-designed period costumes. It is as though there is no director at all, but the actors memorized their lines at home in their bedrooms, came to the set, dressed, and made up the rest as the cameras rolled.
Read the book instead.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Removed the religion and replaced with feminism, March 2 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Little Women (Collector's Series) (Bilingual) (DVD)
Winona Ryder, who as far as I'm concerned can't act to save her life usually, somehow pulled it all together for a magnificent performance in this adaption of Little Women. But even this performance can't save this film, which is NOT Louisa May Alcott's Little Women.
The book, for those of you who haven't read it, is not peppered with feminist bumper sticker statements, for example, there is no condemning of 19th century female undergarments in the book, but the movie does take its swipes.
The book also is loaded with religious references, especially to the book Pilgrim's Progress, but the movie doesn't mention God so far as I can recall, not once.
In this way the film skewers the 19th century sensibility that was so keenly expressed in the novel and does not fairly represent the time or the novel or New England's greatest woman novelist. By slighting her work in this way for politically correct reasons, the film ironically does a disservice to women or at least to this one very talented woman, Loisa May Alcott.
Merely using the actual house Louisa May Alcott grew up in for filming doesn't get at the heart of things, which in this film has sadly been cut out and offered on the altar of all things correct in the late not-so-great, stifling 1990's.
See the version with Katherine Hepburn.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars They shouldn't have named this movie "Little Women"..., Oct. 25 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Little Women 94 (VHS Tape)
since no one connected with it could have possibly read the book. Where was boyish, clumsy, unwilling to grow up Jo? I HATED Winona Ryder's portrayal, more like a betrayal to the character. Let alone the ridiculous social commentary: Meg won't wear silk because of child laborers in China!!!! Everyone who read the book knows Meg LONGS for a silk gown. (...) It may have been an attractive film, although I was too busy seething to notice, but "Little Women" it was not. Don't let your kids see it, they'll never know what the heart of the book is. Terrible! If I could give it negative 5 stars, I would.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Little women's review, April 20 2004
By 
Savanna (North Carolina) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Little Women 94 (VHS Tape)
Little women was a great movie to watch and a great lesson about a families love and each and every person is different. It was mostly about Joe's life and how just because she was more adventurous then the other girls i irl. She loved to write and explore the world herself. She did things that made her wonder t caused her life to be a bit more confusing. It is set in the early 1900's so they believed girls were suppose to stay home and be a house wife. Joe was not that kind of g about herself. She was a loving and caring sister who would do anything for her family. Family was the one thing she was sure about. It took a lot of heartbreak and life experiences to teach this girl what life was really about. After her two sisters got married and she inherited a house to big for herself, she realized she too had to start looking forward to life. Joe was also a wonderful writer. She dreamed of writing a novel and she never could get her dream accomplished. She finally started remembering her childhood and the perfect novel came to her. I recommend this movie to anyone interested in movies about life in the early 1900's and who enjoy a warm-heart movie about family. This movie is great for a school lesson or a family movie. It makes you laugh it makes you cry and even makes you mad at a few things.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Orchard House, Aug. 5 2001
By 
Adam Hunnicutt "A.H." (Remember to vote!! Click my name to read more reviews. Send me an E-Mail to review your product.) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Little Women 94 (VHS Tape)
Deep in the heart of Women lie secrets that we men will no more discover than a treasure chest in our back yard, yet despite that fact after seeing this film, I had a new understanding about the jewels women possess internally. Wynona Ryder, Claire Danes, Trini Alvarado, and Kirsten Dunst, play four sisters(Joe, Beth, Meg, and Amy) that live the role's of fantasy within a hardened reality. Due to the tumultuous force of the Civil War, their family has fallen from a pedistol in society to the grand standing heights of togetherness and warmth within the means of their own spirits. Their father rages on the battle-front while Marmee (Susan Sarandon) keeps tight her little women from the casualties of daily life. Little Women inspired me in all ways that my emotions would allow, while all the while Thomas Newman's soundtracks gently guides you through the steps of their failures, triumphs, and hysteric's. After countless viewings (35-55) it has stood against the test of time that sometimes fades the impact a movie creates. After 7 years Little Women still fascinates me as much as it did on my first viewing. Love, distrust, death, and creativity, within these, their bond's of family strength hold them. There are lesson's to be learned if we are willing to open our own hearts to them. To our friends, Loves, and families, there is something to be gathered from these little women. That lesson is the importance of togetherness. ~S.A.O.S.~
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Little Women (Collector's Series) (Bilingual)
Little Women (Collector's Series) (Bilingual) by Gillian Armstrong (DVD - 2001)
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