Little Women 1994 vs. 2019: A Movie Review

Many generations have enjoyed Louisa May Alcott’s timeless book, Little Women. Unsurprisingly, multiple on-screen adaptions of the beloved book have been filmed. Two of the most popular versions are Little Women, released in 1994, and the most current Little Women, released in 2019. Before watching any TV adaptions, it is always suggested to read the book first. In addition, there are spoilers in this article.

Little Women is the story of the March family, more specifically, the March Sisters: Margaret (Meg), Josephine (Jo), Beth, and Amy. Meg is the reserved sister who dreams of marrying well, and ends up with the man she loves. Jo is the stubborn, spitfire of the family whose passion is writing. Beth is the quiet, patient and good sister who is an example for all. Amy is the beautiful youngest sister who knows she shall marry a rich man, and eventually finds true love.

The 1994 Little Women

This version of Little Women has a cast of many familiar names, including Christian Bale, Winona Ryder, Kirsten Dunst, and Susan Sarandon.

This version starts out with the March sisters, Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy, and their mother, whom they call Marmee, celebrating Christmas. It is set during the Civil War and Mr. March is away fighting for the Union. The movie runs through many of the memorable and popular scenes of the book, from Jo burning Meg’s hair, Meg’s excursion into a new world at the Moffat ball, Beth’s dedication to the poor Hummel family, to Amy’s lime ordeal.

This version of the movie ends with the sisters reuniting and the announcement of the publishing of Jo’s book. This is a wonderful movie, but as mentioned above, one should consider reading the book first.

The 2019 Little Women

The newest adaption of Little Women also has some very famous names including: Laura Dern, Emma Watson, Saoirse Ronan, Eliza Scanlen, Florence Pugh, Timothée Chalamet, and Meryl Streep.

This version of Little Women was not filmed in chronological order, which makes it hard for those unfamiliar with book, Little Women, to follow. The movie takes place partway through the book until the end, with many flashbacks to the beginning of the book. It can be an enjoyable watch, if one knows the story well enough. If one plans on watching this movie, reading the book first will help avoid confusion.

This movie begins with Jo as a young woman in New York, making her way as a governess and trying to establish herself as a writer. Amy is in Europe, Meg is married, and Beth is at home with her parents. The scenes flip back and forth between the young women’s present circumstances to their childhood memories and events. Memorable events such as Amy burning Jo’s book, Meg purchasing silk above her meager budget, Jo turning down Laurie’s proposal, and the grand piano given to Beth are seen throughout the movie. The ending of this movie is so beautiful, as viewers get to see the whole family helping with Jo’s new school and see the sisterly love.

This movie is truly a good watch. Making the movie start in the middle of the story and have flashbacks was so unique and enjoyable. But one does have to be familiar with the storyline in order for this movie to have the most impact.


Both versions of Little Women are wonderful adaptations and different in a few ways. In both movies Jo writes her novel, named Little Women. This plot-line is more pronounced in the 2019 version. The ending of the 2019 adaption has the process of Jo’s book being printed. Another obvious difference is the order of events and the timeline. The 1994 edition is chronologically-ordered and the 2019 version is made up of flashbacks. Which version is better depends on personal preference, such as timeline, actors/actresses, and the overall atmosphere of the movie. Both are great options for a family-friendly movie night for everyone!

Thanks for reading this article! Please comment on your favorite Little Women adaptation! It’s always great to hear from readers!