'Masterpiece: Little Women'
(Angela Lansbery, Emma Watson, Michael Gambon, et al / DVD / PG / 2018 / PBS)
Overview: Follow the sisters Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy, on their journey from childhood to adulthood. Under the guidance of their mother Marmee (Emily Watson), they navigate what it means to be a young woman: from gender roles to sibling rivalry, first love, loss, and marriage.
DVD Verdict: Based on the novel by Louisa May Alcott, this beautiful 'Masterpiece: Little Women' story is as relevant and engaging today as it was on its original publication in 1868.
Accompanied by the charming boy next door Laurie Laurence, their cantankerous wealthy Aunt March (Angela Lansbury) and benevolent neighbor Mr. Laurence (Michael Gambon), as someone who enjoys comparing adaptations across time, I find the story told in this newer style of acting, directing, music and such a valuable addition to the collection.
Some people may not like aspects such as scenes of the Civil War where Father is, and this is the first time we see any of Meg's labor, but for me neither is excessive and both are worth including.
This adaptation isn't perfect, I should pay mention to that, any more than its predecessors are perfect, but let me not list my small gripes here. I found it overall well written, well acted and well cast.
The descriptions of the characters were clearly considered when casting (if not 100% adhered to), which is a nice touch and the cherry on top of the actors' generally fine performances.
In particular I found Meg engaging, Aunt March very satisfying and Laurie almost straight from the pages of the book, while Father is (I feel) a loyal interpretation yet unlike any I have seen before. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.
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