BOOKS

Here's Exactly Why 'Little Women' Doesn't Need A Remake

11/01/2013 09:17 am ET | Updated Nov 01, 2013
Columbia Pictures

For some reason, Sony has announced that they will be releasing a new adaptation of Little Women, Louisa May Alcott's really fantastic story about four young sisters coming of age during the gender-constrained 1800s. The film will be directed by relative newcomer Olivia Milch, and produced by Denise Di Novi and Robin Swicord. This news raises a few questions on our end, the most pressing of which is: why?

We have a few bones to pick with whoever's decision it was to put out yet another version of this beloved book. For starters, the most recent and arguably best iteration came out in 1994, less than two decades ago.

Here are 11 reasons why we think "Little Women" should not be remade:

  • Is there anything better than Winona Ryder as Jo?
  • Josephine "Jo" March is boyish and lovable. She's charming, she challenges convention, and she frequently fails to keep her attitude in check. She's headstrong and ambitious. Today's younger stars likely wouldn't fit the bill (except for maybe Jennifer Lawrence or Emma Watson -- fingers crossed). We're curious: could 42-year-old Winona possibly be recast? If so, we'd reconsider our position.
  • Well, except for Christian Bale as Laurie?
  • Theodore "Laurie" Laurence is Jo's best friend (aside from her sisters, of course!), and also sort of her soulmate, but this stance is up for debate. He's as ambitious as Jo, and she mostly rejects his proposal because it feels too much like fate, and too little like a choice. Fair enough. Laurie goes on to make the arguably smarmy move of proposing to Amy, instead. At once charming and icky? Who could be better than Christian Bale?
  • Or Kirsten Dunst as Amy?
  • A lot of readers love to hate Amy. She's guilty of one of the biggest dick moves in literature, burning Jo's nearly-finished manuscript. Way to go, Amy. She's kind of the worst, especially when she's younger, but we love her anyway, and she ends up maturing to become a pretty respectable woman, and artist. Sounds like Kirsten Dunst to us.
  • Basically, the entire cast is perfect.
  • In addition to the aforementioned casting gems, there's also Claire Danes as the timid Beth, Susan Sarandon as Mrs. March, and some other girl who does a really good job playing Meg.
  • It would join a slew of other needless remakes.
    Getty
  • We should not be condoning the recent remake madness (see: "The Amazing Spider-Man," "The Incredible Hulk," and all 183 versions of "A Christmas Carol"). There are plenty of fantastic books, classic and contemporary, that have never had a movie adaption (hello?! "The Corrections"?!)
  • Which is a shame, considering how many awful adaptations could use a contemporary tune-up.
  • Why, exactly, is any creative energy being put into what will potentially be a shoddy remake of a fabulous story, when classics like "Brave New World," "Nineteen Eighty-Four" and "Slaughterhouse-Five" are in dire need of retellings, and would be timely, to boot?
  • As much as the '90s version warmed out hearts, it was already sort of unnecessary.
  • We're all about Gillian Armstrong's version, in case you couldn't tell. But there have been several other fabulous film adaptations of "Little Women," including one starring Katharine Hepburn, and another featuring Liz Taylor as Amy!
  • The ending scene is completely magical.
  • SPOILER ALERT! Professor Bhaer is all, "You...complete me." And Jo is all, "You had me at hello." It's great. Just watch it.
  • What about "Little Men"?!
  • "Little Women" is part of an unofficial trilogy, the latter two books of which focus not on little women, but on little men. Remember the aforementioned end scene, in which Jo and Professor Bhaer decide to start a school together? Remember how much it warmed your heart? Well, this story picks up where that left off, chronicling the lives of the orphans they teach. This, we believe, is a story worthy of an update; it hasn't been remade as a film since 1940.
  • "Newsday" called it "The best family movie of the year!"
  • Look! It's right there on the poster! It also has 90% on Rotten Tomatoes, which is a great rating! However, only 79% of the audience liked it, which, to us, is kind of perplexing. Anyway, it got great reviews! The New York Times said: "Ladies, get out your hand-hemmed handkerchiefs for the loveliest "Little Women" ever on screen." We agree!
  • And if you really want more "Little Women," you should just re-read the book!
  • You can buy it here, here, here, or perhaps even here.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story mistakenly described Little Women as a tale of five sisters -- there are four March girls -- and incorrectly identified 1994 as "less than a decade ago."

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