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!
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.
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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.