Story

Little Women is a modern retelling of a timeless story. It follows the lives of the imaginative March sisters, Jo (Sarah Davenport), Meg (Melanie Stone), Beth (Allie Jennings) and Amy (Elise Jones), who are raised and encouraged by their home-schooling mother (Lea Thompson) while their father (Bart Johnson) fights overseas for their country. The girls are befriended by their rich neighbour’s grandson, Laurie (Lucas Gabreel), who becomes more like a family member than a friend.

As the sisters go through the ups and downs of life, Jo is determined to become a famous writer and leave her mark on the world. Despite her tremendous efforts to succeed, no-one is interested in publishing Jo’s novel until she meets Professor Freddy Bhaer (Ian Bohen). He believes in her writing and sees something special in her. With Freddy’s encouragement, Jo is finally able to find her voice and share her story with the world.

Themes

Separation from a parent; terminal illness; growing up and fitting in

Violence

Little Women has some violence. For example:

  • When Amy throws Jo’s notebook into the fire, Jo says that she’s going to kill Amy. She chases Amy around the room and waves a hot, metal poker at her before their mother intervenes.
  • After learning that Beth has leukaemia, Jo gets very angry and smashes a candy machine in the hospital. She also knocks over a stand of postcards, leaving a trail of destruction behind her. Jo later pays for the damage she caused.

Sexual references

Little Women has some sexual references. For example, Meg refuses to go any further with a boy at a dance, saying that she ‘can’t do this’. The boy stalks off saying that ‘there are plenty of girls who will’.

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

Little Women shows some use of substances. For example:

  • Many teenagers drink at a party.
  • While trying to ‘fit in’, Meg drinks from a hip flask, which a boy gives to her.
  • When the girls are older, the family drinks wine over dinner.

Nudity and sexual activity

Little Women has some nudity and sexual activity. For example:

  • At a dance Meg wears a very skimpy, revealing dress. A boy kisses her passionately while moving his hands slowly over her body.
  • Jo kisses Freddy.
  • Laurie tries to kiss Jo, but she stops him.

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in Little Women:

  • The Apple iPhone and MacBook are both displayed.
  • The girls make pledges and oaths over the book, The pilgrim’s progress. Jo carries the book with her.
  • Madeleine L’Engle’s book, A wrinkle in time, is both referenced and shown.

Coarse language

There is some mild coarse language in this movie, including ‘crap’, as well as a few insults like ‘stupid’ and ‘dumb’.

Ideas to discuss with your children

Little Women is a modern drama based on the timeless novel by Louisa May Alcott. It’s a heartwarming story of sisterhood, which is best suited to slightly older children and will largely appeal to female audiences.

These are the main messages from this movie:

  • Be good and kind.
  • Realise the power of friends, family and forgiveness.
  • Never stop doing what you love.
  • Build your castles in the air and to forge foundations under them.

Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include kindness, love, empathy, compassion, forgiveness, creativity and understanding.

This movie could also give you the chance to talk with your children about real-life issues like:

  • peer pressure and the desire to ‘fit in’ can lead you astray
  • anger management and how Jo must manage her emotions or suffer the consequences
  • the consequences of not forgiving someone.