Metascore
87

Universal acclaim - based on 23 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 23 out of 23
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 23
  3. Negative: 0 out of 23
  1. Reviewed by: Johanna Steinmetz
    100
    Armstrong and screenwriter Robin Swicord have pared the work's sentimentality and bolstered its intellectual content, [21 Dec 1994]
  2. 100
    Director Gillian Armstrong takes the delicate snow globe that is Little Women and gives it a bold new shake. [21 Dec 1994]
  3. Reviewed by: Jay Carr
    100
    [The novel's] themes have never not been fresh and they gleam here under the sympathetic and enlivening touch of Armstrong and her cast, who move through the events with sunny assurance and complete immersion in character. [21 Dec 1994]
  4. A graceful, unsentimental, well-made movie.
  5. 100
    It's a celebration of American female screen acting, it's a study of early feminism that feels relevant today, it's a carefully mounted exercise in period filmmaking and it's a beloved novel come to life for the fourth time. [23 Dec 1994]
  6. Reviewed by: Georgia Brown
    90
    The new Little Women, directed with grace by Gillian Armstrong, adapted with tact by Robin Swicord, and starring an extraordinary ensemble, has made my holiday.
  7. Reviewed by: Matt Zoller Seitz
    90
    It respects its characters, its source material, and its audience, and its inherent melodrama is ennobled by the scrupulous intelligence of its director.
  8. Armstrong, screenplay adapter/co-producer Robin Swicord and their colleagues have got everything just right. [23 Dec 1994]
  9. Ms. Armstrong instantly demonstrates that she has caught the essence of this book's sweetness and cast her film uncannily well, finding sparkling young actresses who are exactly right for their famous roles.
  10. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    90
    Director Gillian Armstrong and writer Robin Swicord have fashioned an entrancing film from this distinctly unfashionable classic.
  11. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    90
    This handsomely produced period piece is easily the most emotionally effective bigscreen melodrama since "The Joy Luck Club," as well as the most intelligent.
  12. 88
    Director Gillian Armstrong finds the serious themes and refuses to simplify the story into a "family" formula. "
  13. Reviewed by: Ethan Alter
    88
    Director Gillian Armstrong's feminist spin on classic material retains the moving humanity of Louisa May Alcott's novel while reworking it with welcome freshness.
  14. Reviewed by: Elizabeth Renzetti
    88
    Gillian Armstrong's adaptation of Louisa May Alcott's 1868 novel is lively and thoughtful and beautifully formed. [21 Dec 1994]
  15. Reviewed by: Staff (Not Credited)
    83
    What makes the movie a superior specimen of traditional screen storytelling is largely the exquisite care director Armstrong has taken to make every shot as radiantly appealing as possible, bathing even the melancholy aspects of the plot in a glow that's as pleasing to the eye as it is warming to the heart. [23 Dec 1994]
  16. Reviewed by: s
    80
    It's beautifully mounted to capture the age and the passing seasons, though director Gillian Armstrong never lets the production values overwhelm the gentle sketches of girlish hopes and pastimes tempered by the trials of life.
  17. 80
    Armstrong applies a dusting of contemporary feminism, but the stubborn sentimentalism of Alcott's endearing family portrait endures. [21 Dec 1994]
  18. The film has a fresh and imaginative feel for period detail that the talented cast - which also features Gabriel Byrne, Christian Bale, Eric Stoltz, John Neville, and Mary Wickes - obviously benefits from.
  19. Armstrong presents a warm, funny, and believable rendering of the March family.
  20. Meticulously crafted, and warmly acted by a cast that includes Winona Ryder as Jo and Susan Sarandon as her mother, the devoted Marmee, Little Women is one of the rare Hollywood studio films that invites your attention, slowly and elegantly, rather than propelling your interest with effects and easy manipulation.
  21. 75
    This tale of four independent sisters of differing temperaments is undeniably melodramatic, but it's very good melodrama, with an accumulation of vitality and charm that elevates the movie to an unexpectedly high level.
  22. Reviewed by: Stephen Hunter
    75
    The best part of Little Women is that it tells a great big story. [24 Dec 1994]
  23. Reviewed by: Amy Gamerman
    70
    Ms. Armstrong's Little Women, which has enough sugar to make your teeth sing, if not your heart. [29 Dec 1994]
User Score
7.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 28 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 2
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 2
  3. Negative: 0 out of 2
  1. May 20, 2014
    10
    This review contains spoilers, click full review link to view. I have not read the book, but maybe I'll have to, even if this story is something that I usually don't like.

    The cast - magnificent. Acting: brilliant. The set, the music... flawless. Not to mention the story that drew out a tear from me in several places (and that is a rare occurrence).

    Even if Jo's antics got me wondering once in a while, the story was never overly... well, anything. It was balanced, beautiful and heartbreaking, and basically just to TRUE. Especially when looking at Beth and her untimely death, that is just the course of the world.
    Full Review »
  2. Jimmy
    Feb 22, 2008
    10
    When judgment day comes, and mankind is evaluated on the merits of its spiritual and cultural achievements, this film alone will redeem the infinite inequities of humanity. It will usher us to paradise. Full Review »