SAVE A PLACE IN YOUR HEART FOR THE UNFORGETTABLE STORY OF THESE LITTLE WOMEN.
Gillian Armstrong’s most successful Hollywood project is one of the best adaptations of Louisa May Alcott’s novel, portraying a Massachusetts family of four sisters during and after the Civil War, primarily focusing on Jo (Winona Ryder) who wants to be a writer. Beautiful production and costume design recreate the 1860s and the romance between Jo and a German-born professor is not allowed to dominate quite as much as in the predecessors; there’s room for a more realistic and intellectual understanding of the March sisters’ lives and interests. Great performances by Ryder and Claire Danes, but all the technical details, Armstrong’s direction and Thomas Newman’s wonderful, touching score deserve praise.
1994-U.S. 115 min. Color. Produced by Denise Di Novi. Directed by Gillian Armstrong. Screenplay: Robin Swicord. Novel: Louisa May Alcott. Music: Thomas Newman. Costume Design: Colleen Atwood. Cast: Winona Ryder (Josephine ”Jo” March), Gabriel Byrne (Friedrich Bhaer), Trini Alvarado (Margaret ”Meg” March), Susan Sarandon, Christian Bale, Kirsten Dunst… Samantha Mathis, Claire Danes, Eric Stoltz, John Neville.
Trivia: Danes’s feature film debut. Christina Ricci and Natalie Portman were allegedly considered for parts.
Last word: “I had already done a film about a young woman who wanted to be a writer [but] I thought it would be nice to make a film that my daughters could go to. As a mum going to the video store, I’m getting out ‘The Parent Trap’ and ‘Pollyanna.’ They want to see characters they can identify with, and there’s a real shortage of girls’ stories.” (Armstrong, The New York Times)