Why Bridgerton Fans Should Watch Little Women

08 February 2021
Bingeing Bridgerton? Watch Little Women.
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No TV fan worth the salt on their popcorn could have failed to notice that the new series, Bridgerton, has taken the world by storm. If you’re very much in love with this show, perhaps your Sunday night movie, Little Women, may be something you’ll like too. There are marked differences between the two – besides the very obvious fact that one’s a series and the other a movie – but delve a little deeper and you’ll find they share more in common than you might realise.

They’re both based on books written by women.
Books are a rich source that Hollywood mines mostly to great success (think Sherlock Holmes, Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, The Hunger Games – we could go on). Little Women and Bridgerton are two more great examples. This week’s Sunday night movie is the latest of many adaptations of Little Women, a famous novel written by Louisa May Alcott. Bridgerton is based on a series of books written by Julia Quinn. But Little Women is hardly a standalone, having been followed by two more novels: Little Men and Jo’s Boys.

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They’re both period dramas.
Both are set in the 19th century. However, Bridgerton is set at the beginning (1813) and Little Women closer to the middle (in the 1860s). They’re also set in different locations, with the former taking place in England and the latter in the United States. The source novels are even further apart: Alcott’s Little Women was published between 1868 and 1869, while the Bridgerton books were released from 2000 to 2013. Despite the much older source material, Greta Gerwig brings contemporary conversation into her adaptation of Little Women with the skill and flair of her beautiful writing and direction. Bridgerton also keeps the conversation contemporary, creating a racially-integrated 19th century London.

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They’re both powered by strong female presences in Hollywood.
As the writer and director, Gerwig is the driving force behind Little Women. Behind the scenes, she’s supported by three female producers. In front of the camera she has an amazing female-led cast in the form of Florence Pugh, Emma Watson, Laura Dern, and Meryl Streep. Gerwig’s friend and returning collaborator Saoirse Ronan (they worked together to much acclaim in Lady Bird) is front and centre as the irrepressible Jo.

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Shondaland fans will be familiar with the great Shonda Rhimes and her numerous hit shows, which now includes Bridgerton. Rhimes serves as one of the executive producers on the show, which is also brought to the screen by her production company, Shondaland. The cast boasts a lot of fresh, young faces and it’ll be interesting to watch their careers unfold.  

They’re both sister-oriented.
From the March sisters to the Bridgerton sisters, both Little Women and Bridgerton focus on sisterhood. With this theme forming an integral part of the stories you can expect an abundance of love, laughter, and rivalry. Brigderton’s sibling rivalry has an added layer of complexity with four brothers in the mix as well – not to mention a whole extra group of sisters in the form of the Featherington girls!

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They’re both full of great female characters.
The sisters are hardly the only female characters in these stories. Little Women has the wonderful addition of the girls’ mother, Marmee March, as well as the eccentric Aunt March. Bridgerton’s cast is considerably more expansive: along with the Bridgerton and Featherington sisters, there’s a cousin, the Bridgerton and Featherington matriarchs, and the omnipresent Lady Whistledown who is voiced by Julie Andrews.

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Is your interest piqued? Or are you already a  Little Women fan and want a rewatch? Join the March sisters as they come of age in Little Women, your Sunday night movie on 14 February at 20:05 on M-Net channel 101.

Images: Little Women (2019)  © Sony