Based on novel by Louisa May Alcott and written/directed by Greta Gerwig, Little Women tells the story of Josephine “Jo” March as she reflects back and forth on her life, telling the beloved story of the March sisters - four young women each determined to live life on her own terms. Check out Ralph Potts’ review of the Blu-ray release from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )

Film:
Extras:
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )

92
Details:

Studio and Year: Sony Pictures - 2019
MPAA Rating: PG
Feature running time: 135 minutes
Genre: Drama

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC
Video Aspect: 1.85:1
Resolution: 1080p/24

Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, English/French Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish
Starring: Saorise Ronan, Emma Watson, Florence Pugh, Eliza Scanlen, Timothee Chalamet, Laura Dern, Meryl Streep, Tracy Letts, Bob Odenkirk, James Norton, Chris Cooper, Louis Garrel
Written & Directed by: Greta Gerwig
Music by: Alexandre Desplat
Based on the novel by: Louisa May Alcott
Region Code: A,B,C

Release Date: April 7, 2020
"Own Your Story"
Synopsis:

“Based on novel by Louisa May Alcott and written/directed by Greta Gerwig, Little Women tells the story of Josephine “Jo” March as she reflects back and forth on her life, telling the beloved story of the March sisters - four young women each determined to live life on her own terms.” Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.


My Take:

Writer-director Greta Gerwig has crafted a Little Women that draws on both the classic novel and the writings of Louisa May Alcott, and unfolds as the author’s alter ego, Jo March, reflects back and forth on her fictional life. Gerwig’s take on the beloved story of the March sisters—four young women each determined to live life on their own terms—is both timeless and timely.

I haven’t read Louisa May Alcott’s classic novel nor have I seen the 1994 film adaptation in its entirety. Frankly, the subject matter really never interested me although, there are plenty of similar films that have. Strange. Anyway, after the critical acclaim Little Women received and given the fact that Greta Gerwig directed and penned the script, I figured it was time to see a film based on the novel.

This is most definitely a character driven story that teeters between its period-based roots and a contemporary essence that speaks to today’s message of female empowerment. Now, that shouldn’t be taken to mean that it radically departs from the essence of the original story in favor of overt, fist shaking feminist themes aimed at a singular purpose, it doesn’t. What Gerwig does so well is give us a commanding and inspired adaptation that draws from the well of familial relationships, shaped over time and the evolutionary path that brings them full circle.

Character development is simply excellent and one of my favorite things about the film. Interestingly, the film’s beginnings didn’t initially draw me in but, before I realized it, I was intrenched it, finding myself connected to the narrative’s shifting timeline and heartwarming center. The casting choices were simply wonderful. Saorise Ronan is terrific (as always) but, my favorite performance goes to Florence Pugh in the role of Amy. Every actor lends a complimentary element in service of the story’s resonating themes. Kudos to Greta Gerwig on a beautifully crafted and entertaining film that is among last year’s best.

Little Women was honored with an Academy Award for Best Costume Design plus five nominations including Best Picture, Best Writing (Adapted Screenplay), and Best Music (Original Score). Saoirse Ronan’s transcendent performance earned her a nomination for Best Actress in a Leading Role, while Florence Pugh’s nuanced and insightful take on the character of Amy earned her a nod for Best Actress in a Supporting Role. It is only the third Best Picture nominee in history to have been written, directed and produced entirely by female filmmakers.


Replay Value:
Parental Guide:

The rating is for thematic elements and brief smoking.


AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:REFERENCE = 92-100/EXCELLENT = 83-91/GOOD = 74-82/AVERAGE = 65-73/BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**



Audio: 92
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Dynamics: 
  • Low frequency effects: 
  • Surround Sound presentation: 
  • Clarity/Detail: 
  • Dialog Reproduction: 
  • DSU/DTS Neural:X Rating * (non-rated element): NA



Video: 92
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)



  • Resolution/Clarity: 
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  • Color Reproduction: 
  • Fleshtones:
  • Compression: 



Little Women comes to Blu-ray Disc from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound.

This is an excellent high definition video presentation from Fox. Image depth during the brighter sequences is appreciable from nearly every camera perspective. Objects within backgrounds have definable structure/texture which makes them appear very lifelike and three dimensional. In general, the video is crisp with defining detail and appreciable sharpness. The color palette isn’t a diverse one and sticks mainly to tamped down secondary hues with splashes of primary colors. Shadow detail is excellent which enhances depth during dark segments that contain limited light. Blacks are deep, dynamic and stable which adds punch to sequences containing both light and dark elements. Contrast is strong which delivers bright punchy whites and vivid primary colors. Fleshtones are appropriately bland, adhering to the film’s visual aesthetic without appearing unnatural.

This is a dialog driven film however there are elements in the film that require use of the entire system so its ability to clearly render them is essential. Dialog is reproduced with transparent realism and lucid texture as it is appropriately balanced within the front soundstage. The surround mix utilizes the entire platform to render the acoustic sounds associated with the environments portrayed onscreen. The rear channels contain a mixture of spatial ambience/musical extension as well as directional panning cues that effectively integrate with the front soundstage. This is an enriching audio presentation that mates well with the source material




Bonus Features:
  • • A New Generation of Little Women: The superb cast recreated the beloved world of the March family with realism, humor and vulnerability
    • Making a Modern Classic: The film combines its modern elements—kinetic camerawork and overlapping dialogue—with the historically authentic bespoke costumes, sets and locations
    • Greta Gerwig: Women Making Art: Go behind the camera with Writer/Director Greta Gerwig, discover her process and how she applied her own style to the story
    • Hair & Make-Up Test Sequence: A lovely showcase featuring the outstanding costumes, hair and make-up crafted for the film
    • Little Women Behind the Scenes: Take a quick look behind the scenes on the set of LITTLE WOMEN
    • Orchard House, Home of Louisa May Alcott: Find out more about Louisa May Alcott and visit the real-life Orchard House in Concord, MA
  • DVD
  • Digital Code
Final Thoughts:


Nominated for six Academy Awards, Including Best Picture, Little Women is written/directed by Greta Gerwig based on the classic novel by Louisa May Alcott, and is a wonderfully spun adaptation that features apt direction and wonderful performances by its ensemble cast. It comes to Blu-ray from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment featuring excellent high definition audio/video and middling supplement set. I thoroughly enjoyed Little Women and highly recommend it to fans of the book/genre.
 
Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews


Reference Review System:
JVC DLA-RS2000 4K Ultra High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman color calibration software and Portrait Displays C6 HDR2000 colorimeter from  Portrait.com )
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Electronic Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV7704 Audio/Video Processor
Emotiva XPA-7 Gen 3 Seven Channel Amplifier
Emotiva XPA-11 Gen 3 Amplifier
Panasonic DP-UB820 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
Oppo BDP-203 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
System Controller: Apple iPad/Roomie Remote V6 Universal Remote Control
SVS Ultra Tower Speakers (Gloss Finish)
SVS Ultra Center Channel (Gloss Finish)
SVS Ultra Surrounds (Gloss Finish in Bipolar Configuration)
Dual SVS PC4000 Cylinder Subwoofers
Niles Audio In-Ceiling/In-Wall Series Speakers
Panamax M5400-PM Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
AC Infinity Aircom T8 Component Cooling Systems