Little Women

Movie review by
S. K. List, Common Sense Media
Little Women Movie Poster Image
Parents recommendPopular with kids
Lovely Alcott adaptation tugs at the heartstrings.
  • PG
  • 1994
  • 115 minutes

Parents say

age 9+
Based on 8 reviews

Kids say

age 8+
Based on 21 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Great messages all around about overcoming obstacles, the importance of charity, forgiveness, writing from your heart, embracing your gifts and differences, and celebrating the family bond, especially the bond among sisters.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The mother here is a rock to her daughters, accepting their differences and helping each girl become the best person they can be. She says that she "wishes she could give her girls a more just world" and pushes them to question authority when it's wrong (like when a teacher strikes Amy) or embrace their gifts (encouraging Jo to go to New York and find herself). The girls are all very kind-hearted and conscientious, giving their Christmas dinner away to those who are starving. Jo calls herself "hopelessly flawed," but her passion for writing and bringing out the inner strength in all her sisters carries the story.


Beth becomes dangerously ill with scarlet fever, recovers, but eventually dies. Amy falls through the ice while skating but is pulled to safety. Amy comes home with a welt on her hand telling her family that she was struck by her teacher. Mr. March comes home from the war injured and the family fears for his safety constantly.


A few kisses and mentions of romantic overtures.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Some drinking at parties. Jo says she only takes alcohol medicinally. Laurie drinks from a hip flask in one scene.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Little Women is an adaptation of the book by Louisa May Alcott. In an intense moment, beloved sister Beth becomes dangerously ill, recovers, but eventually dies young in a very sad sequence. The youngest sister, Amy, falls through the ice while skating but is pulled to safety. Kids will learn a bit about the time period during and just after the Civil War and will get to know an amazing group of role models in the March family. They are supportive of one another and wonderful members of the community, even giving away their Christmas dinner to those less fortunate.

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byh.bloomenthal April 3, 2019

Almost as good as the book!

Family movie night. We loved it, especially after reading the book. This version, unlike the one that Common Sense Media gives it's prestige 'family... Continue reading
Parent of a 8-year-old Written byJennyjenny25 February 13, 2019
Kid, 9 years old August 16, 2020

best movie ever!

This is the first Little woman i have ever seen! thats why it is one of my favorite movies!
Teen, 14 years old Written bytheatrekid July 7, 2020

Favorite Adaptation

I love this version of Little Women; I feel it perfectly captures the spirit of the book and each March sister gets the justice she deserves. The soundtrack is... Continue reading

What's the story?

LITTLE WOMEN is not so much about what happens to the March family as about who they are. Their parties, meals, chores, games, romances are hardly high drama but, through individual personalities, they illustrate the highest human values: love, family, selflessness, loyalty. Known to be innovative thinkers, the Marches -- as one character observes -- had "views."

Is it any good?

Acting upon those views in day-to-day life, the girls capture our attention and, more, stir our souls. Excited about such holiday luxuries as a bit of butter and an orange, they give them up to feed an even poorer family. The gifted Claire Danes delivers a touching, very real, portrayal as Beth. When she dies, it's painful and viewers share the family's loss. Likewise, the climactic reunion between Jo and her professor is deeply moving. Rarely is such a low-key movie so uplifting. Meaning springs from the unaffected performances, the believable tensions among the sisters, the realistic contrast of their varied goals, and forthright, simple statements of authentically virtuous character. Lovely settings frame the story perfectly.

No pretense is made about the purity of the world in which the Marches live. As women, they confront and cope with second-class status, especially the free-thinking Jo. But society's flaws just reinforce the integrity the Marches bring to it. For a breath of fresh air that's anything but old-fashioned, choose Little Women.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how Little Women compares to Louisa May Alcott's novel. Which do you like better? Why?

  • When Jo says she is "hopelessly flawed" do you agree? What were the traits valued in girls back then and how have things changed?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love movies about girls and women

Themes & Topics

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