About Little Women
“MASTERPIECE: LITTLE WOMEN” will be available on DVD and Blu-ray May 22, 2018. The run time of the program is approximately 180 minutes. The DVD SRP is $24.99 and the Blu-ray SRP is $34.99. The program will also be available for digital download.
“Little Women is one of the most-loved novels in the English language, and with good reason,” says writer and executive producer Heidi Thomas. “Its humanity, humor, and tenderness never date, and as a study of love, grief, and growing up it has no equal. There could be no better time to revisit the story of a family striving for happiness in an uncertain world.”
Heading the cast are Academy Award® nominee Emily Watson (The Theory of Everything, Hilary and Jackie) as Marmee, the devoted mother of the four adolescent March girls; Michael Gambon (Churchill’s Secret, Page Eight) as Mr. Laurence; and Academy Award® winner Angela Lansbury (Murder, She Wrote, The Manchurian Candidate) as the March family matriarch, Aunt March.
The March sisters—the “little women” of the title—feature newcomer Maya Hawke as the willful and adventurous Jo; Willa Fitzgerald (Scream: The TV Series) as the eldest and most virtuous, Meg; Annes Elwy (King Arthur: Excalibur Rising) as the shy sister, Beth; and Kathryn Newton (Big Little Lies) as Amy, the youngest of the family.
Also appearing are Jonah Hauer-King (Howards End) as Laurie, the loveable boy next door; Dylan Baker (The Good Wife) as Mr. March, who is serving as a chaplain with the Union Army; Julian Morris (Mark Felt) as John Brooke, Laurie’s cultured and handsome tutor; and Mark Stanley (Star Wars: The Force Awakens) as the charming Professor Bhaer.
A celebration of family as much as it is a recognition of the challenges of growing up and forging an individual identity, the program remains relevant due to the universal themes at its core. Backed by a nearly all-female creative team, Thomas’ adaptation doesn’t shy away from tackling the darker, more complex emotions the March family experiences. Drawing from a novel that was well ahead of its time the show speaks to current issues as much as it does to the issues women faced at the turn of the 20th century.
Devotees of the original novel will relish the book’s indelible scenes in this MASTERPIECE production: the cruel fate of Jo’s manuscript, Amy’s accident on the ice, Meg’s first ball, Beth and the forbidden piano, the pickled limes affair, and many other cherished episodes in a journey to a bygone time.
Although modern society would be disorienting in the extreme to the March sisters, Thomas notes that even today “girls are still confused about their desires and their desirability, and the passage from innocence to experience is more turbulent than ever.”
“We need hope, and we need empathy,” she adds. “We need laughter, and we need catharsis, we need joy and inspiration. LITTLE WOMEN gives us all of these things.”
“MASTERPIECE: LITTLE WOMEN” has been commissioned by Piers Wenger and Charlotte Moore at the BBC, and is produced by Playground (Wolf Hall, Howards End) for BBC One. The series is a co-production with MASTERPIECE on PBS. The producer is Susie Liggat. Executive producers are Colin Callender and Sophie Gardiner for Playground, Heidi Thomas, Lucy Richer for the BBC and Rebecca Eaton for MASTERPIECE.
My Take on the Movie
As a father of two girls I have wanted my girls to read this book soon and when I saw that the PBS Masterpiece: Little Women series was coming to DVD I was excitedespecially when I asw the cast. I have seen other versions in the past and some have been great and some not so great so I did not know what to expect in this one.
While watching this with my daughters I can honestly say that this series was definitely a great one. The series covers both the Little Women and Good Wives books and follows the four March Sisters through their childhood and adult lives. The series covers so many things in the lives of these women, both the high and low points and even touches on important moments in American history as well.
In my opinion, the series portrays the sisters well and they found perfect actresses to play them too. The series also shares some of the hardships that the family and the women feel throughout their lives and the actresses do a superb job at sharing the emotion of the scene in the perfect fashion.
What was great was that not only do you get some known actresses like Emily Watson as Marmee and Angela Lansbury as Aunt Josephine, but you also get a number of newer actresses that you may not know yet.
I was particularly taken by the acting of Maya Hawke who plays Jo. Maya does a remarkable job at capturing Jo’s tomboy nature without going over the top. She shows a wide array of emotions in her character which draws the viewer even closer into the film and she does all of this without overplaying the mannerisms that you would expect Jo to embody!
There is still love shown in many ways in the relationships that the women have with others and these relationships are also built well and the love that is shown is tangible.
In the end this adaptation of the text did a wonderful job at maintaining the overall feel of the text and also adding in some of the new nuances that make the viewer connect to the story as well. I have to commend the BBC and the cast for a wonderful job and I highly encourage all to enjoy this great film with your own!
Finally, what makes this version of “Little Women” special is that it’s not afraid to occasionally expand on the material – and unlike “Anne with an E”, it does so in a way that’s faithful to the spirit of the original story. For instance, there’s a beautiful moment on Meg’s wedding day in which Marmee goes into the room where all her daughters are preparing, and for a moment she’s struck dumb as they turn and smile at her. She wishes them well, leaves the room, and then stops to let herself have a little cry in the hallway, knowing it’s the last time she’ll have them all under her own roof. It’s just lovely in its poignancy.
So well done, BBC. With high production values, excellent casting, deft directing, and a full understanding of the classic story and its characters, you’ve made a worthy adaptation of “Little Women”.
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