Episode 1 -| Review Score – 3/5
Episode 2 -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 3 -| Review Score – 4.5/5
Episode 4 -| Review Score – 4.5/5
Episode 5 -| Review Score – 4/5
Episode 6 -| Review Score – 4.5/5
Episode 7 -| Review Score – 4.5/5
Episode 8 -| Review Score – 5/5
Episode 9 -| Review Score – 4.5/5
Episode 10 -| Review Score – 4.5/5
Episode 11 -| Review Score – 5/5
Episode 12 -| Review Score – 4/5
2022 has been an exceptional year for female-led K-dramas with Extraordinary Attorney Woo, Juvenile Justice, Thirty-Nine, Why Her? and many more. There are so many shows that follow the female-led narrative but Little Women presents an entire K-drama run solely by women.
The show boasts Kim Go-eun, an actress who has made her name known in recent years due to her intense acting skills and her funny and goofy off-screen presence as its main lead. Not only that but the show’s villain is a female. Nothing screams more female empowerment than Little Women.
Running for 12-episodes on both tvN and Netflix, Little Women narrates the story of three sisters, Oh In-joo, In-kyung and In-hye who have been dealt a bad hand in life. The sisters have parents who are as good as absent, the show follows the older sisters’ journey to fulfilling their own dreams as well as making sure their youngest sister, In-hye, does not lack in any way.
However, all the dreams and aspirations of the sisters are hounded by a ghost – poverty. In-joo dreams to marry rich but is very naive when it comes to matters of money. In-kyung does not hate being poor and is a righteous reporter and wants to fight for justice. In-hye is an exceptional painting student who wants to live the life of an artist and is troubled by being a burden to her sisters.
After In-hye befriends Hyo-rin, the daughter of a rich political family, she understands the disparity between the rich and the poor. Surprisingly, In-joo is working under a firm run by the same family. In-hye and In-joo’s involvement with the family somehow catapults In-kyung into discovering the wrongful activities involving the multiple victims.
With her goal of destroying the family, In-kyung starts a battle with them that could destroy her and her sisters. In-joo suddenly finds a huge sum of money that her “poor” friend left behind for her and In-hye only wants to make it big on her own two feet. There is so much going on around the three sisters that they eventually find themselves in the middle of a deadly organisation that can either fulfil all their wishes or kill them.
Little Women features an extremely well-written plot and air-tight characters. Kim Go-eun does an exceptional job with her acting as In-joo, but it is Uhm Ji-won as Won Sang-ah who takes the cake with her acting. From playing the victim card to acting like a total lunatic, fans really loved to hate Sang-ah.
Despite not being a romance drama, fans started growing attached to In-joo and In-kyung’s respective love interests, Do-il and Jong-ho. While there is a nice conclusion to some of this, there’s also points of contention too.
The show pays homage to the famous American novel of the same name, but there have certainly been other cinematic adaptations of Little Women. The modern-day retelling of the story is centred around a Korean family and this is what sets the show apart from its other adaptations.
Episode 11 features so much packed into its run-time that as a result, the season finale feels rushed, given there was so much left to unravel. This is one series that truly deserved 16 episodes and I wish the makers would have offered a slow-burn sort of drama instead of a rushed and intense 12-episode mini-series. Having each episode with a runtime of one hour or more, Little Women is as intense as it can get with amazing and intense performances.
The cinematography of the show is exceptional and every freeze-frame can be analyzed. The power dynamics can be explained without using words and gestures; eating an apple is enough to convey an apology. Each character can be analysed in-depth there is so much to unravel with each character and their arcs coming to a full circle by the end of the season finale.
Little Women has opened up many discussions online and fans have various petitions for the makers, one of which I myself have signed regarding a certain romantic outcome! However, this is a thrilling, well-written drama that’s well worth a watch.
Verdict - 9/10