• Network: PBS
  • Series Premiere Date: May 13, 2018
Metascore
64

Generally favorable reviews - based on 18 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 18
  2. Negative: 1 out of 18

Critic Reviews

  1. Reviewed by: Hanh Nguyen
    May 14, 2018
    100
    Beautifully produced and faithful to the original story, the miniseries also captures the joyful spirit of the novel despite its many heartaches. For every generation comes a new Little Women, but PBS’ version promises to be the go-to standard for a long time to come.
  2. Reviewed by: Verne Gay
    May 9, 2018
    88
    A luminous adaptation, with Hawke as one more memorable “Jo” in a long and glorious line of them.
  3. Reviewed by: Allison Shoemaker
    May 14, 2018
    80
    Caswill and her team wisely let these performances and this great writing do most of the lifting, but rest assured that the direction, cinematography, costume and production design, and the simple but intoxicating score are all capable at worst, lovely at best, and thoughtful all the way through.
  4. Reviewed by: Brian Lowry
    May 11, 2018
    80
    It's always a challenge tackling such a familiar and beloved story, and bringing enough freshness or relevance to justify devoting three hours to it. Still, it's hard to find many weaknesses -- manly or otherwise -- in this latest take on Little Women.
  5. TV Guide Magazine
    Reviewed by: Matt Roush
    Apr 26, 2018
    80
    Warm and intimate, with an unforced realism that keep schmaltz to a minimum. [30 Apr - 13 May 2018, p.12]
  6. Reviewed by: Kelly Lawler
    May 11, 2018
    75
    Warm, idyllic and impeccably acted.
  7. Reviewed by: Kristi Turnquist
    May 10, 2018
    70
    The performances are generally fine, if a bit lacking in star quality.
  8. Reviewed by: Matthew Gilbert
    May 10, 2018
    70
    The casting is solid, with Emily Watson particularly affecting as Marmee. The star, though, is Maya Hawke, who captures the spirited Jo nicely as she grows into a committed writer and uncompromising lover.
  9. Reviewed by: Rob Owen
    May 9, 2018
    70
    Warm, welcoming and occasionally tear-jerking, this three-hour production goes down like a warm glass of milk at bedtime.
  10. Reviewed by: Bruce Miller
    May 14, 2018
    60
    Once director Vanessa Caswill boils away the innocence, Little Women becomes a more substantial drama. ... While the four roles could have been played by stronger actresses, they’re fairly well-matched. Watson and Lansbury are left to carry the subtlety. Both do it well, making us long for “Older Women,” a version that views the high-strung March girls from another perspective.
  11. Reviewed by: Hank Stuever
    May 11, 2018
    60
    A new two-part series, premiering Sunday on PBS’s “Masterpiece,” feels a little weak at the outset, with the story streamlined by “Call the Midwife” creator Heidi Thomas’s screenplay and arranged by director Vanessa Caswill in such a prettified way that it looks more like a “Little Women” Instagram feed than a timely interpretation. ... The performances, however, rise to the novel’s reputation.
  12. Reviewed by: Dan Fienberg
    May 11, 2018
    60
    There's some sense of missed opportunity in how rarely this Little Women finds a distinctive way to view and interpret the travails of the March family, especially during the second episode, which lands several required emotional punches, but mostly meanders. Still, fans of the book will be pleased with the creators' relative fidelity to the source material, and will be appreciative of the strong, generation-spanning cast.
  13. Reviewed by: Sonia Saraiya
    May 10, 2018
    60
    At their best, adaptations offer new insight or modern context for classic literary works. This PBS production is sweet, light, and frothy—but it’s in no danger of doing either.
  14. Reviewed by: Sophie Gilbert
    May 14, 2018
    50
    As it is, the overall effect is undeniably pretty but somewhat baffling, a bit like Instagrammable avolato. It’s a well-intentioned and updated Little Women, but not quite a classic.
  15. Reviewed by: Mike Hale
    May 11, 2018
    50
    What we get is a fairly faithful rendition of the book’s events that lacks the warmth and depth of feeling that make the book worth reading. There are some flat-footed attempts at lyricism, or modernization, through the intrusive use of music, or short passages when the cuts come more quickly and the camera moves in for off-center close-ups.
  16. Reviewed by: Melanie McFarland
    May 15, 2018
    40
    To its detriment, Little Women returns to the classic PBS “Masterpiece” style of being true to a piece of literature nearly to the point of drowning it in formaldehyde. One positive note is Caswill’s cinematography, evocative of an aesthetic that resembles Hudson River School landscape art in miniature. Woefully, the action occurring within these settings is less interesting. ... It’s fine that no alluring strangers show up, and maddening that none of Alcott’s uplifting zest does either.
  17. Reviewed by: Jacqueline Cutler
    May 7, 2018
    40
    The camera plods along, lingering on pretty shots of nature. A bee buzzes a flower. Snowflakes fall on a New England square. Brooks babble. It begins to feel less like a drama than a giveaway calendar. Skilled as the actors are, it’s difficult for them to rise above the creakiness.
  18. Reviewed by: John Anderson
    May 10, 2018
    30
    There’s a lot to dislike about these Little Women, not least the acting. Angela Lansbury as Aunt March and Michael Gambon as Mr. Laurence provide some sparks; Jonah Hauer-King as Laurie is perfectly fine. But Ms. Hawke in particular is overly earnest, never mind obvious. ... Emotionally, this Little Women is as thin as the pond ice that Amy falls through, or Beth’s chances of making it to the next pledge break.
User Score
3.4

Generally unfavorable reviews- based on 5 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 5
  2. Negative: 3 out of 5
  1. May 14, 2018
    0
    Saccharine silliness. An insult to a great book and to those who cherish it.