Little Women

TV review by
Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
Little Women TV Poster Image
Strong female characters shine in classic book adaptation.

Parents say

age 9+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

No reviews yetAdd your rating

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

We think this TV show stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Strong themes of family, loyalty, devotion, and kindness toward others. The March sisters' relationships are central to the story, and while they're not always idyllic, the characters always return to each other for support. Excellent modeling of female characters who are true to themselves and embrace their gifts for art, music, and writing.


Positive Role Models & Representations

Female characters stand out for many positive qualities. Jo's fierce determination, Meg's compassion, Amy's spirit, Beth's courage, and Marmee's wisdom drive their actions. All put their family's needs before their own, demonstrating a willingness to sacrifice for others. Some, especially Jo, also challenge traditional gender roles of the time period.



No violence, but some scenes reflect the harsh realities of the period in images of illness (a main character contracts scarlet fever, for instance), war (a man is shown bloodied and dying), and poverty. In one scene, Jo slaps Amy in anger. In another, Amy falls through the ice into a pond and risks freezing or drowning.



Some flirting between young men and women, but true to the time, it's very harmless.



This miniseries is the latest of many adaptations of Louisa May Alcott's literary classic.


Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Little Women is based on Louisa May Alcott's classic novel. The story is set in the 1860s during the Civil War, so the realities of illness, death, and poverty creep into the emotional tale. One main character is a forward-thinking young woman who challenges gender norms of the time, to the confusion and chagrin of the more traditional characters around her. Another suffers a life-threatening illness, which causes her family much sadness. Alcott's beloved story is known for its prominent themes of family, loyalty, and perseverance, and this interpretation uses all of those for a tale that tugs at the heartstrings but also features strong female roles, messages celebrating individuality, and realistic emotion as the characters cope with struggle and loss.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 8, 10, and 13-year-old Written byDenise A. April 24, 2019

This version is odd, others are better.

In order of preference, based on my children's level of interest and/or boredom; 1. the Winona Ryder/Christian Bale version from the 90's. 2.... Continue reading
Adult Written byh.bloomenthal April 4, 2019


Honestly, we wanted to love this movie, but it just didn't hold up as well as the Winona Ryder version from the 1990's. Yes, we're that family t... Continue reading

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

What's the story?

LITTLE WOMEN revisits Louisa May Alcott's classic tale of the March family in 19th century New England. As the Civil War rages on farther south, the four March sisters -- Meg (Willa Fitzgerald), Jo (Maya Hawke), Beth (Annes Elwy), and Amy (Kathryn Newton) -- preserve their home with dwindling resources and weather their father's absence with their mother, Marmee (Emily Watson). When a handsome young man (Jonah Hauer-King) moves in next door and befriends them, he takes a liking to Jo, but her feisty and independent nature keeps distance between them. Meanwhile, Meg finds a suitor of her own, reclusive Beth tries to break out of her shell, and impetuous Amy forges her way out of the shadows of her older sisters. As time passes and the Marches suffer losses, their devotion to each other becomes even more important.

Is it any good?

This interpretation of Alcott's work is beautifully and creatively adapted. Its ensemble cast is impeccably suited to their respective roles, with a notable performance by Angela Lansbury as the sharp-tongued Aunt March, and the welcome presence of Michael Gambon as the Marches' neighbor, Mr. Lawrence. Hawke's Jo is divine, expertly treading the thin line between feminine futurist and troublemaker, and ever delighting viewers with ideas that challenge the norms of her time and are more in line with the feminine experience of today. This series' use of music and transitionary scenes of nature are nontraditional, but they give this version a flair that's distinct from those before it.

What this version of Little Women doesn't tamper with is Alcott's emphasis on family relationships, overcoming struggles, perseverance, coping with loss, and finding yourself. The characters' individual evolutions are stories unto themselves, and juxtaposing them creates a tapestry of representations of life and love as experienced by different people with varying personalities. Because of the richness of the emotions experienced, this series is great for a teen audience, but its compelling storytelling is a worthwhile choice for parents to watch alongside them.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how this take on the classic story compares to others before it and to Alcott's book. If you're familiar with several, which is your favorite and why? Does this Little Women feel too modern? How do period dramas use costumes and dialogue to set a different scene than the current one?

  • What are this story's messages about siblings and family relationships? Are they always happy and joyful? What outside influences can affect these relationships? Can you relate to any of the squabbles that erupt among the March sisters? What about the genuine affection they share?

  • This story boasts several strong female characters, all for different reasons. Do you have a favorite? What qualities do you most admire in her? How do the characters demonstrate perseverance, teamwork, self-control, and other life skills? 

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love classic stories

Character Strengths

Find more TV shows that help kids build character.

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

Streaming options powered by JustWatch

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate