Released 12/21/94 Rated: PG
This is another one of my favorites. Maybe it’s simply because I grew up with this one, but in my opinion this movie is flawless. I love everything about it: the characters, the story, the actors, the period, the writing, the way it’s told, everything!
The relationships between….well, everyone are so well thought out and expressed that I have no trouble believing these characters and their desires, troubles, struggles, and joyful successes. I really feel as though they are sisters; each her individual self, yet they have a group bond that is realistic. They fight with each other, support each other, laugh and cry with each other. They really are little women. 🙂
The story is wonderful, and I prefer how it is told in this version, as though it is Jo’s book, even though she doesn’t physically write it until the end. The narration really helps set the pace for the time passing in the story, as well as remind the viewer what is going on outside the family.
Released 1933 Rated: NR
I did not care for this version as much. Right from the beginning I felt as though something were off about the main characters. They all felt harsh and mean to me. And Katherine Hepburn has such high cheek bones, and I don’t know if she wore lipstick or what, but it seemed her lips were darker than they should have been; she was a little scary. I took one look at the poster for the 1933 version and laughed because they all look like mean and unpleasant people! Granted, movie posters from this era are nothing to go by, but still, it doesn’t make me want to see the movie.
I did not get the same sense of connectivity among any of these characters as I did in the 94 version. They felt more like a group of actors than a family to me. I was not emotionally attached to any of them.
I suppose my main issue with this movie is the character of Josephine “Jo” March. There is a difference in being a tom boy, for that time period anyway, and being, for lack of a better phrase, defiant of being a woman. Winona Ryder’s character was socially awkward, headstrong, dreamed big, but she was also a girl, even if she liked walking outside barefoot. Katherine Hepburn’s character on the other hand seemed a little too excited, occasionally had a deep voice and loudly swore “Christopher Columbus!” so many times I found it annoying. Ryder’s character really struggled to become an author and to figure out her place in the world, whereas Hepburn’s character just sort of did things; no real struggle, everything merely folded out for her.
Overall I would suggest seeing the 94 version. The story flows a little more naturally, and everyone is a joy to watch. Everything about it is simply perfect. How many movies can you say that about?