The book is always better, especially with Little Women

Nicole Felici & Claire Moylan, Copy Editor & Features Editor

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The book Little Women by Louisa May Alcott is a timeless classic following the life of four sisters on their journey from childhood to adulthood. The novel opens by introducing Meg, Jo, Beth and Mary March, each of whom were based on Alcott and her sisters. They live during the time of the Civil War, where supplies and food are rationed amongst themselves and their neighbors. Later in the story, they meet a boy named Laurie, who joins in on their misadventures. Over the course of the book, Jo and her sisters face various trials that shape their characters with the help of their mother, Marmee. Through love, tragedy, misadventures and learning to become women, and at the end of the book, Marmee and the girls are transformed into a group of heroines.  

In light of Little Women’s 150th anniversary, another live-action remake entered theaters. Little Women already has a live-action remake that came out in 1994. In contrast to the 2018 remake, the 1994 version has 91% on Rotten Tomatoes and an IMDB rating of 7.3 out of 10. The 2018 remake received 30% on Rotten Tomatoes and an IMDB rating of 4.8 out of 10. While both ratings are mediocre at best, something clearly went terribly wrong for the 2018 version. Obviously, some things have happened that made the book and previous movie adaptation far superior to the 2018 version in every shape and form.

To be blunt, the modern remake was awful. The casting, the costumes, the setting, just everything did not suit the theme and the feel of the novel. It looked like an American Girl Doll movie, with actors and actresses offering not much more than a pretty face. Just looking at the appearance of these actors and the sets, everything looked superficial and perfect. The book doesn’t exude these feelings at all. The book focuses on how the girls need to sacrifice material items and to assimilate to the hard times of the Civil War, how they grow with the absence of their father and their growth by meeting and interacting with new people. As readers, it’s easy to feel how the girls are struggling and to become sympathetic to their struggles. The book teaches themes of hard work and self-discovery as well as themes of love domesticity. The 2018 movie is an immensely watered-down production that prohibits viewers from seeing Alcott’s original lessons under all the layers of shiny covering. The lessons are still there, but are hard to grasp.

In short, the Little Women 2018 remake was not worth seeing in theaters. Huge issues with the movie’s casting, set design and it missing the mark with the original book’s themes are inexcusable offenses in the eyes of fans of the book. The movie is most definitely not the best movie in the world, but it is tolerable for its hour and 52 minute runtime. If it were longer, walking out of the theater is totally understandable. Instead of wasting your time and money on going to the theater, we recommend reading the sequels Little Men and Jo’s Boys. They are just as entertaining as their predecessor and pick up where Little Women left off. They continue to extend the story in ways a modernized remake cannot do. In short, the Little Women 2018 movie is a prime example of why the book is ALWAYS better than the movie.

Little Women book: 4/5

Little Women movie: 2/5


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The book is always better, especially with Little Women