There I sat in the movie theater with my wife Carol and daughter Laura. Of the one hundred or so viewers of the Best Movie of the year nominee, Little Women, there was only one other guy sitting with his female companion, and he looked a little bored as everyone exited the movie. No doubt Little Women is a “gal” movie in terms of who is plunking down twelve bucks (senior citizen rate) for two and a half hours of entertainment.
But while the four March daughters, their mother and grandmother are the key players in the Louisa May Alcott’s classic novel, the life lessons of Little Women are more about family dynamics, respect for differences, the joys of companionship and most of all kindness. Certainly there are key scenes where jealousy, selfishness, and bad judgment are in full display, but the March family always overcomes these impulses and return together to love and happiness.
Any parent of children, girls or boys or a mixture of gender, hope in their hearts that love and happiness will win out as their daughters and sons grow up. This hope is often not realized as in too many families brothers and sisters move apart or fight over frivolous matters; sometimes it is over money or property, sometimes it is over who is loved more, and sometimes it is some random event that inexplicably tears at the family fabric.
But the March sisters – Meg, Jo, Amy and Beth- find a way to overcome jealousy, selfishness and bad judgment to embrace each other, put aside their differences, and let love shine through. What impressed me about the March women was that they followed different paths and were strong-willed and confident in their abilities. Yet despite their individual uniqueness, the film adaptation of Little Women shows the sisters filled with mutual laughter and family joke making. By the end of the movie the March women are working together to run a school that allows them to utilize their individual talents toward a common good.
As a parent of three daughters my wife and I always agree that each of our women are unique in their talents and dispositions. Sometimes these differences are a challenge but we always see, usually in small but revealing ways, that our Little Women love each other, respect each other and seek to make each other happy. As a parent you cannot ask for any more than to have children who stay together through difficult times and are there to help each other with love and kindness.