Monday, December 12, 2016

Little Women (1994)

Adapting classic literature can be challenging. In addition to the normal problems that come with adapting a novel, there is the added complication of the fact that lots of early novels were pretty weirdly structured. Though the "hero's journey" is as old as time, I'm pretty sure Louisa May Alcott was not consulting Aristotle's Poetics as she was crafting her touching tale of the March Family. From the limited research I've done, the novel we think of as Little Women is actually the fusion of two shorter works. In spite of all of this, the adaptation that director Gillian Armstrong, writer Robin Swicord and editor Nicholas Beauman were able to put together is pretty great. They were able to successfully include numerous, smaller, side stories from the book(s) without losing the overall thrust of Jo's journey of actualization. It is somehow simultaneously loose and tight. Few films are able to hit that sweet spot so squarely. It should be studied in schools.

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