‘The March Sisters at Christmas’: A Classic with Mistletoe

January 11, 2013 7 Comments

Though the calendar says that the holidays are gone for another year, I couldn’t resist sharing one more new Christmas flick review. Flaws and all, Lifetime’s The March Sisters at Christmas, a loose take on the classic Little Women, manages to be cute in spite of everything that works against it.

The March Sisters at Christmas (2012) Lifetime Review

Life in the March family is never dull. With exception to the mild-mannered but talented Beth (Melissa Farman), all of the girls are on their paths to success. Meg (Kaitlin Doubleday) is attending law school and is in, what she considers a socially successful relationship while her more artistic sister, Jo (Julie Marie Berman) is ignoring her real talent of writing and is instead ghost-tweeting for celebrities. Then there is the youngest, Amy (Molly Kunz) whose artistic inspirations tend towards theater work… and boys!

The March Sisters at Christmas

When their childhood home is in danger of being sold, the four girls fight for the memories no one wants to let go of.

Anytime a screenplay “tampers” with a classic, there is always outrage. Even in the small circle I’m a part of, that was the consensus and reaction I came across. When I go into something of this sort, I make up my mind not to “pre-judge,” and accept that they’ll be concessions. I also don’t in any manner expect the story to follow its original format. This applies perfectly to this film. It’s a modern spin on Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women and though there isn’t the same charm as can be ascribed to the delightful 1994 adaptation, you can enjoy this fluffy piece of holiday cheer.

From my perspective – and admittedly it’s a very easy-to-please one, writers did a splendid job with this. It’s pleasing and irrespective of the few flaws. There’s a lot of happy moments and nods to the original material. To filmmaker’s credit, Alcott isn’t in the online credits though I don’t remember if she is on-screen. Making Jo a writer for celebrities isn’t a bad modern twist despite it being a major complaint. It’s well written as a way for her to “hide” behind her talents.

Her character and dilemma is one I sympathize with. The person who I had the most “issue” with is Meg, who seems the most out-of-character with her relationship flitting. The other girls, including Jo were plausible as modern versions of the March sisters. In a nutshell, this is decidedly modern; expecting it to paint the pretty picture that the 1800-era classic does is, I am sorry, unrealistic.

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There are many modern ideals that may make the uninformed viewer’s eyes go wide in surprise but in reality, this adorable movie is no worse off than the modern adaptations of, say, The Count of Monte Cristo or the fairy-tale re-tellings we enjoy gushing over. Really the only scene that’s tacky is a Halloween party the girl’s host – it wasn’t necessary to the story and insults the integrity of the characters to see them drinking themselves into oblivion. Countering this is the cute scenes of the girls in the attic.

Though unfamiliar with their work, the lead actresses does impress; and I also must credit the men, Mark Famiglietti, Justin Bruening and Charlie Hofheimer for their roles. In particular I like the chemistry between Mark and Julie as well as the friendship she has with Teddy. It’s clever how writer’s introduce the “professor” character, and tie the relationship into the end; it’s one that was awfully cute! Also well done is the promise of a blossoming relationship between Amy and her childhood crush. (We’d be offended by the quick turnaround if the end were different.) If you go into this with expectations of days spent in front of a fireplace, hoop skirts and heroic gentleman, this will disappoint. But for the perceptive viewer, ‘March Sisters’ is a sweet spin on a classic.

(Disclosure: this post does contain affiliate links; if you buy anything through these links, I may receive a small percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you. Thank you to anyone who makes a purchase through these links. Read the disclosure page for details.)

You can find The March Sisters at Christmas digitally on Amazon Video

CONTENT: Amy is a flirt who makes out with someone at a party, but before things go further, there’s an interruption. Likewise, Meg makes out in her boyfriend’s lap; later there is an implication she and another man are intimate behind closed doors. Amy tweets nude photos of herself. Alcohol consumption is present in two prevalent scenes [once underage]. There may be a commonplace profanity or two.

About Rissi JC

amateur photog. #bookblogger. downton abbey. inspys. internet-photo-shy. writer. the aspiration is to someday write professionally. a girl can dream, right?

Rissi JC

amateur photog. #bookblogger. downton abbey. inspys. internet-photo-shy. writer. the aspiration is to someday write professionally. a girl can dream, right?

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  • Charity U January 11, 2013 at 3:51 PM

    Sounds like one of those movies I might enjoy! :) Fun review. I hadn't heard of it before.

    • Rissi January 11, 2013 at 11:21 PM

      It's really a cute movie, Charity. If you are a staunch fan of the "original" story, you may have issues with the contemporary spin but it was just adorable. In my opinion. :)

  • Ella January 12, 2013 at 12:08 AM

    I'm a purist when it comes to certain things….but I actually really liked this one! It didn't bother me that things were "tweaked." It was adorable =D

    • Rissi January 12, 2013 at 4:02 AM

      Really!? For some reason, I thought this wasn't one you liked; glad to be proven wrong, Ella. :)

      (I like how you put this one: "tweaked." Got that from You've Got Mail and will always think of the movie when I use that term. ;D)

      It takes a lot for me to be "offended" by modern spins on classic material. Look at Revenge (cannot move much further away from its inspiration that it did!) – unless it does something totally off-kilter, I am *dying* to see S2 this summer and loved the edgy first season. Or all the Sherlock re-makes!? Those are fabulous. Since I tend more towards expecting many changes when going into something, I accept them more readily. If it surprises me by honoring the original, that's all the better.

      It's nice to know you enjoyed it – it was simply adorable!

    • Ella January 12, 2013 at 6:39 AM

      Revenge "has" gone a little "weird" the beginning part of this season, but now we appear to be back on track. So all is good =D But as to Sherlock, don't get me started on Elementary. I will not watch it….I'll stick to the books and BBC's Sherlock ;-)

    • Rissi January 12, 2013 at 7:45 PM

      *Note to self: Don't brag up Elementary when chatting with Ella*

      LOL! I'll remember not to get you started on CBS's new Sherlock spin. :D

      I've read some things about Revenge that made me go, "okay… so that's weird!" but I am still interested in it so hopefully I won't feel it's changed TOO much by the time the second season comes out. Glad to know it's back where it should be!

  • […] man. He isn’t a stranger to Christmas films though. Fun trivia: he played Teddy Lawrence in The March Sisters at Christmas (Lifetime). I like not just the cast, but the characters they portray as well. This is something […]

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