Little Women (2018) parents guide

Little Women (2018) Parent Guide

The cast do their best to take these well known and loved character and bring them to life with as much authenticity as the script allows.

Overall B+

Louisa May Alcott's classic story gets an update in this film version of her novel. Watch as these little women Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy (Melanie Stone, Sarah Davenport, Allie Jennings, Taylor Murphy), chase their dreams as they grow through the ups, down, triumphs and tragedies of life, while hanging onto their relationship as sisters.

Release date September 28, 2018

Violence A-
Sexual Content A-
Profanity A
Substance Use B

Why is Little Women (2018) rated PG-13? The MPAA rated Little Women (2018) PG-13 for some thematic elements and teen drinking.

Run Time: 112 minutes

Official Movie Site

Parent Movie Review

A tale as old as time, or as old as 1868, this remake of a movie that was a remake of an old book strives to bring the March sisters and their charming story to life in the modern era. An era, we expect, that should dramatically change the plot of the original (cell phones, teenage partying, and antibiotics for example). But despite this, the film remains relatively faithful to the original plot. We follow the March sisters, Jo (Sarah Davenport), Beth (Allie Jennings), Meg (Melanie Stone), and Amy (Elsie Jones/Taylor Murphy) throughout their adolescence and adulthood, often jumping between past and present. An updated plot has Beth plagued by lymphoma as opposed to scarlet fever, and Jo shaves her hair as a sign of solidarity as opposed to selling it as she does in the original. A Little Women for the modern age.

The main goal of the film is to see each of the sisters reach their “castle” - a reference to literal castles their mother, Marmee (Lea Thompson), made for them as children that articulated their perfect futures. We watch the sisters struggle to reach their own goals, and endeavour to understand and support each other attaining their own castles. Along the way they encounter social pressures, love lost, love found, disappointment and even death.

This version of Little Women does not do justice either to the original book or the 1994 film adaptation. It’s more Little Women lite. I may be a tad biased having grown up close to Concord, Massachusetts and spending part of my childhood devoted to the March sisters. I was irked by sloppy moments in the film, such as seeing Beth’s hair poke out from under her hat when she is supposedly bald. And anyone who is familiar with Massachusetts will not be able to suspend their disbelief at Beth’s assertion that she has never seen the sea or that a supposedly poor family can afford to live in such a large home. These annoyances aside, the cast do their best to take these well known and loved characters and bring them to life with as much authenticity as the script allows.

Little Women is rated PG-13 but the picture is suitable for children who are a few years below this rating. Viewers will see teenage drinking and partying, but it is portrayed in a very unfavourable light. There are also a couple of kisses, but nothing too risqué. And there are themes of death and grief which are probably a bit much for younger children.

Despite its weaknesses, this movie provides an easy introduction to Louisa May Alcott’s beloved characters. But parents who want their children to experience the power of the story should encourage them to read the original novel or watch the 1994 film version. This modern version of Little Women can then be a cotton candy chaser to a more substantial feast.

Directed by Clare Niederpruem. Starring Lea Thompson, Ian Bohen, Lucas Grabeel . Running time: 112 minutes. Theatrical release September 28, 2018. Updated

Little Women (2018)
Rating & Content Info

Why is Little Women (2018) rated PG-13? Little Women (2018) is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for some thematic elements and teen drinking.

Violence: A girl falls off her horse (not shown) but we see her lying on the ground next to a bloody rock. There is blood on her face.
Sexual Content: A young boy leads a girl away from the prom dance floor to an empty hallway. They kiss, he puts his hands on her hips, but after a few minutes she pushes him off. He leaves. Another man attempts to kiss a woman, unsuccessfully. A couple kisses with moderate passion.
Profanity:
None noted.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Some teen drinking and partying.

 

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Little Women (2018) Parents' Guide

Sometimes characters in movies are portrayed rather one-dimensionally. Does this influence us in the way that we interact with people around us - do we see them only as good, bad, shy, pretty, or creative? What can we do to not fall into the trap of single-dimensional judgments?

This movie talks a lot about acceptance of one’s loved ones, even if their choices do not make sense to you. Have you ever had to accept someone’s choices for the sake of your relationship with them? How did you do that?

 

Read books about Little Women (2018)

If your child or teen enjoyed watching Little Women, they should enjoy reading the original novel or Deanna McFadden’s children’s version: Classic Starts: Little Women.

Teens who want more period stories about sisters considering their futures can turn to Jane Austen’s classic novels, Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility.

If Jo’s passion for writing strikes a chord with your older child or teen, Lucy Maud Montgomery has two series set in the 19th century about girls who just want to write. Anne of Green Gables and Emily of New Moon both tell wonderful stories about girls with ambitions that don’t fit societal expectations.

Another story about a girl in love with books and the written word is Betty Smith’s A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. Set in turn of the century New York, the story follows Francie Nolan as she navigates poverty and family heartache. (This book features alcoholism and has a non-explicit sexual assault so it is only suitable for teens.)

Beth’s passion for home and hearth is shared by another character in a Lucy Maud Montgomery novel. Jane of Lantern Hill will be a big win for any girl who is drawn to family and domestic pursuits.

News About "Little Women (2018)"

2018, the year this movie releases in theaters, is the 150th anniversary of Louisa May Alcott‘s novel, Little Women. Published shortly after the end of the Civil War, Alcott set the story during that conflict and tells the story of a mother and her four daughters working together as their husband and father serves as a chaplain in the Union Army. The mother, Marmee, provides warmth, moral instruction, and a nurturing environment for her sometimes turbulent family. There are four daughters: Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy.  Eldest daughter, Meg, or Margaret, is both dutiful and responsible but she adores fashion and longs for a large enough income to move in the highest social circles.  Second daughter, Josephine, known as Jo, is in a constant state of rebellion against existing cultural expectations for young women. More than anything, Jo wants to be a successful author.  The next daughter, Beth (or Elizabeth), is Jo’s opposite. A peacemaker and homebody, Beth enjoys homemaking and prizes time with her family. Pretty youngest daughter Amy has ambitions as an artist and envisions a future of both wealth and social status. 

The story of the four sisters has been a consistent bestseller in print and has been adapted 10 times for film or television. The most successful film adaptation was the 1994 release which gave Marmee both feminist and reformist sensibilities.  The upcoming 2018 release is a modern retelling of the classic story which places the sisters and their struggles in 21st century America. It is being produced by Pure Flix, a Christian filmmaker, and will likely emphasize the religious and moral messages of Alcott’s novel.

Home Video

Related home video titles:

This classic novel has been adapted before. See Little Women (1994) and Little Women (1949).