TV Review: Little Women

Tuesday 9 January 2018 by

In their range of Christmas offerings, the BBC also put up a new adaptation of Little Women. Now I’m not ashamed to say that it’s been many years since I read Little Women, and the intricacies of the plot escape me. But in true post-Christmas style, I was game.

The plot of Little Women itself is quite slow, and with that you’re not going to get the great dramas that many people are used to seeing from the BBC. Instead, we were rewarded with a slow and sweetly paced adaptation that stuck true (from what I remember) to the book.

Adapted by Heidi Thomas, the creator of Call the Midwife, it very much had the same vibe. Beautifully cut scenes with nuanced dialogue and lots of meaningful looks. Maya Hawke, who plays Jo with the same gusto and spirit we come to expect from the character, is a joy to watch, whilst Kathryn Newton (Big Little Lies) takes on the youngest, Amy with the arrogance and playfulness that is essential to the role.

There’s been a few complaints about the casting and the adaptation itself, but I was instantly drawn in by the four daughters, whose experiences in growing up during civil war America form the basis of the story. They tread the line of innocence beautifully, not once stepping in to twee territory.

There’s something joyful about watching a slow and steady programme like Little Women. Especially in a Christmas coma. No great explosions, nothing too complicated, just simple, sweet-natured storytelling.

It’s not the greatest adaptation of the story I’ve seen – there are moments that fall flat when they should be full of emotion, and there are times when it tries too hard to tug on the heartstrings, but it makes a valiant effort. The acting is top notch, for what they have been given (because the dialogue can get a bit patchy despite the strong material) and it makes for entertaining viewing.

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