Winona Ryder (in an Oscar(r) nominated role) and Academy Award(r) winner Susan Sarandon (1995 Best Actress, Dead Man Walking) star in this “affectionate, superbly acted” (Los Angeles Times) family favorite. With her husband off at war, Marmee (Sarandon) is left alone to raise their four daughters, her Little Women. There is the spirited Jo (Ryder); conservative Meg (Trini Alvarado, Paulie); fragile Beth (Claire Danes, William Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet); and romantic Amy (played at different ages by Kristen Dunst, Wag the Dog and Samantha Mathis, Broken Arrow). As the years pass, the sisters share some of the most cherished and painful memories of self-discovery, as Marmee and Aunt March (Mary Wickes, The Man Who Came to Dinner) guide them through issues of independence, romance and virtue. Gabriel Byrne (End of Days), Eric Stoltz (TV’s Chicago Hope) and Christian Bale (The Portrait of a Lady) co-star in this “handcrafted valentine” (Newsweek) of a film.
The flaws are easily forgiven in this beautiful version of Louisa May Alcott’s novel. A stirring look at life in New England during the Civil War, Little Women is a triumph for all involved. We follow one family as they split into the world, ending up with the most independent, the outspoken Jo (Winona Ryder). This time around, the dramatics and conclusions fall into place a little too well, instead of finding life’s little accidents along the way. Everyone now looks a bit too cute and oh, so nice. As the matron, Marmee, Susan Sarandon kicks the film into a modern tone, creating a movie alive with a great feminine sprit. Kirsten Dunst (Interview with the Vampire) has another showy role. The young ensemble cast cannot be faulted, with Ryder beginning the movie in a role akin to light comedy and crescendoing to a triumphant end worthy of an Oscar. –Doug Thomas