Robbie K with the last review of the night, and with it one that aims to look at the latest book turned movie remake. A timeless classic constantly tweaked, tonight’s film hopes to bring the passion, drama, and emotional roller coaster ride that this story has been for ages. Enough jabbering, let us get to business as I review:
Movie: Little Women (2018)
Acting: Certainly not the same performance of the previous installments but the new age twist of this movie brought with it plenty of talent to pave the way. The girls had fantastic chemistry for me, a nice little community very knit together and crafting a family that although dysfunctional felt like a realistic display of the modern drama. Passionate, yet somewhat controlled, each leading lady contributed greatly to the film overall, though I have to say Allie Jenningsand Lucas Grabeelwere my champions of the bunch.
The Modernized Twist: The originals love to tell it from a historical component/traditional side that holds its charm, majesty, and timeless sense of wonder. However, the outdated version can be difficult to hold attention, so the modernized version appeared. I myself certainly enjoyed the modern edge, finding issues that I believe will speak widely to the audience of today. The girls face a number of issues including marriage, dating, peer pressure, and envy, all with valuable lessons that should appeal to the younger crowd.
The Setting/Prop Departments: I’m a sucker for making a setting look good and this Little Women accomplished the task of bring suburban life to full swing. You’ll feel quite quaint in the girls crowded home, become a part of the adventures that they sail through in their youth, and during the more dramatic moments feel their pain in the confines of the castles they so wanted.
The Cinematography: It’s not the most dazzling sights or the ability to make fictional creatures come to life, but the camera work in this film is incredible in regards to amplifying the emotion of the moments. Focusing on faces, utilizing the light and make up to shine, and even emphasizing those tears are all incredibly combined to get those tears flowing for other audience members. Nice work indeed.
The Musical Score: Yet, much of this movie would be lost without the incredible score to support the scenes. Powerful orchestra work, mostly led by the piano, is the means to which the emotion is maximized. Having that beautiful, sad score only brings out the beauty even further, adding that nice supporting punch that gives you goosebumps, or at least resonates in your heart. Even the Indy music works in regards to helping add a little spunk to the fun moments, the lyrics probably a good poetic representation of the moments that is stronger than the dialogue.
The Time Jump: I always though the originals were a straightforward approach through life, but I haven’t seen these in a while so I can’t be sure. This movie decides to jump back and forth between past and present, a nice symbolic representation of the mind set of Joe as she finds the inspiration to handle things in life. However, for this film the flashback seems rather random, the purpose of them diluted and the placement hard to believe given my other dislike. I think a straightforward approach would have worked better for me in the grand scheme, but points for creativity.
The Age Defying: As the flash back scenes progress you would expect the girls to gradually get some aging to them. This movie does a poor job of keeping to that consistency, with many of the girls looking the same six years later, despite them being in their prime growing years. Age defying magic may be desirable, but it shatters the reality and annoyed me when suddenly the time jump happened and only one person really changed. For a movie going for realism, they didn’t accomplish this.
Not Focusing On The Other Girls Enough: The story is told through the perspective of Joe for the most part, and this time they decided to short sight the other ladies. Sure there are enough details to give you the gist, but I felt that much of the girls emotional growth was left in the dust, especially Lea Thompson’s character. When some of the big dramatic moments happen, they are actually passed over quickly, a mere shadow of what they could have done. Such discretion was a little disappointing to see, though it did keep the pace interesting and out of melodramatic territory. Though Beth’s tale is probably the exception to the rule.
Jo: The character Jo is a strong one, bringing a central pillar to brace all the supporting subplots on. While I can get on board with some of the times she reacts, Jo’s character was a little overdone/soap opera level for me to handle at times. The overboard reactions for everything got annoying for me, and seeing her turn into the brat had my empathy levels really stretched to help understand her outlook. Seeing as she overtook most of the plot and at times was removed from the rest of the group, this story development was not the best direction for me for a story about family.
Overall, the movie accomplishes the goal of being the emotional stimulator that it wants to be. The modernization will help make it relevant to the modern generation, also helping improve the pace, to give you the movie version of the classic book. However, while the skeletal frame is still there, the movie lacks a lot of the details previous editions held and doesn’t quite have the same togetherness. Still, a sob story lies in this film, with great morals and portrayals of life despite defying the aging process. So for you drama lovers, this one is for you, but in regards to a theater visit, you’re best left until it hits home viewing in my opinion.
My scores are:
Movie Overall: 6.0