December 2017: This movie is now showing on TV. It would likely be featured on the Hallmark Channel but I’ve seen it on local stations as well. It is also available for purchase on Amazon.
I went into this movie preparing to hate it. I don’t watch Lifetime and am not a huge fan of “chick flicks” (with the exception of “Pretty Woman” – Richard Gere <sigh> 🙂
However, “The March Sisters at Christmas” proved to be a very pleasant surprise. Here’s what made it work for me:
These four women were very appealing. Many of my favorite scenes featured the four sisters together. Kudos to director John Stimpson for choosing the right people and creating a real sisterhood that was so key to the original story of Little Women. I also loved the chemistry between Jo and Teddy (and liked the fact that Laurie was known as Teddy). My only complaint was that he was a little too much in the beef cake department. 🙂
Twists and turns
I liked the way the movie was not literally faithful to the book but was faithful in spirit. All the different twists in the movie made perfect sense. Amy as a theatrical rather than an artist worked for me (and coincidentally, she was also portrayed that way in The Little Women Letters) – it brought in both the theatrics from the story and Amy’s artist temperament.
Jo was perfect. My husband at one point said that Jo was “annoying” and she was in the original story – abrasive and bossy, but also generous and kindhearted.
Meg was almost overly motherly, especially towards Beth; I liked the fact that it wasn’t certain at first between Meg and John and that there was another man in the mix.
Beth is a hard character to bring to the 21st century and at times the other sisters seemed to treat her as if she needed therapy because she lacked ambition and confidence. I was glad to see the kindness that is Beth’s most sterling quality brought forth with the Christmas presents.
I loved the brewing feud between Jo and Amy, playing itself out with an “evil” tweet! It wasn’t evident right away how Amy would get her revenge (I thought she was going to cut the power in the house and cause Jo to lose her story) and her injury from the water heater which brought Jo to her senses worked for me.
I appreciated the fact that the writer(s) had actually studied the book and remained faithful to it while at the same time showing some imagination in how the story would play out in current time. It again confirmed what all us Little Women fans know – that this story is universal.
What didn’t work
What didn’t quite work for me was how Jo and Teddy’s relationship worked out. It seemed like two weeks was not nearly enough time for Teddy to get over Jo and fall in love with Amy. But that’s TV for you! I also felt that Jo’s relationship with Marcus Bhaer was rushed and underdeveloped. Still, I liked the fact that he was the one holding back rather than Jo.
I really enjoyed “The March Sisters at Christmas” and was very pleasantly surprised. It was a lot of fun to watch (especially spotting the scenes from my hometown. And yes, I spotted all the Concord scenes too!).
You can catch “The March Sisters at Christmas” again today at 5pm on Lifetime. I have it on my DVR.
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