The timeless romance of the Little Women series is back in the form of a feature-length film. Aptly titled "Little Women", the film centers on the four different women whose journeys make up the story. This movie, directed by Lynn Shelton and written by Monica Forman, highlights four main characters - Mary, Amanda, Marjorie and Mary Pinchotty.
Mary was born into a family of wealthy Quakers and in her early years, she sets her sights on becoming a minister. But a murder of one of her children leads her down a path that would change her life forever. It also changes the lives of the other three women in her life.
With no parents to guide her, Mary discovers herself alone and unhappy. Eventually, after a difficult pregnancy, she takes a vow of poverty and a vow of celibacy. But when the death of her youngest child has left her without a means of support, she is forced to work to provide for her family. However, as the years pass, she is not convinced that her vows have been honored and returns to religion, becoming a minister.
Lillian Palmer's character, Amanda Pinchotty, is a self-absorbed woman, even refusing to take her illness seriously. Her husband eventually leaves her and they move into an apartment with their only child, Linda Linn, who suffers from a serious illness. As their isolation becomes increasingly apparent, they begin to fall out of love with each other and there seems to be no end in sight. When Linda Linn's illness escalates, it is Amanda's unyielding loyalty that saves the day and allows them to care for their children in their last moments together.
Lynn Shelton's movie focuses mainly on these four women and their trials and tribulations. From their respective homes, they all struggle to raise their children and themselves in difficult circumstances. Shelton's camera focuses mostly on each woman's eyes, using this as the focal point to show their mental state, emotional state and physical state.
Though not the sole female protagonist, Mary is certainly the most relatable and interesting of the four women. Caught between the strictness of her religion and the freedom of a new American home, Mary struggles to balance her family, her religious beliefs and her own. Initially, Mary sets her sights on a successful career in the publishing industry but she falls in love with Dr. Libby Harland, the daughter of her parishioner, who is a non-believer. When Mary finds herself falling out of love with her Christian ideals, she must return to the world of religion and the sacrifices that she made to bring her faith and her children.
In the middle of the movie, there is Marjorie Pinchotty, a young widow, who takes a vow of poverty and celibacy and considers herself more of a prostitute than a member of the Quaker community. Despite her naivete, Marjorie struggles with how to juggle her family and her religion, especially when she learns that her firstborn son will be raised in the church. Though she tries to deal with this situation, it makes her a "lesser" mother than Mary.
While this movie is primarily about the four women and their struggle, the film also delves into their relationships with each other. Though their situations often seem similar, each woman's relationship with her sister is different, demonstrating their own personalities. The sisterly relationships may prove to be a slightly contradictory, but entertaining, aspect of the movie.