I've been reviewing a lot of films based on classic novels these past few weeks here on the INCspotlight, and here's another one: the 1994 adaptation of Louisa May Alcott's Little Women.
As the film beings, the Civil War is still raging throughout the United States. In Concord, Massachusetts, the four March sisters - Meg (Trini Alvarado), Jo (Winona Ryder), Beth (Claire Danes making her film debut), and Amy (Kirsten Dunst) await the end of the war and the return of their father (Matthew Walker), an officer in the Union Army. Their lives aren't quite idyllic - not with a war going on and four sisters with very different temperaments under the same roof, but their mother - "Marmee," (Susan Sarandon) as they call her - manages to hold the family together as best she can. To take their minds off their troubles, the March sisters write and act out plays for fun. Jo in particular not only enjoys hamming it up, but is quite the writer, favoring lurid horror stories about ghosts and vampires. Another distraction from the harsh times is the arrival of their neighbor's grandson Laurie (Christian Bale), who joins in the girls' revelries. He's friendly with all four sisters, but is smitten with Jo, eventually proposing to her before he leaves for London. Jo turns him down, seeing him more as a brother than a love interest.