Netflix’s twelve-episode South Korean drama, Little Womenit’s not the Little Women we all know. So for anyone watching the series, hoping to reconnect with Louisa May Alcott’s infamous 1868 novel, they are sure to be in for a treat. However, the surprise might end up being as good as this spec Little Women it is a roller coaster ride of different emotions. The suspense and mystery surrounding the three leads keep the viewers encapsulated, in turn, making the show worthwhile.
The 8.6/10 star rating on MyDramaList and the 7.9/10 rating on IMDb’s list seems like reasons enough to watch this show. However, this article will analyze why Little Women is starting to gain a lot of popularity among K-drama fans and Netflix streamers. Perhaps, this article may end up convincing its readers that this South Korean drama is worth their investment of time.
A complete reinterpretation of Louisa May Alcott’s “Little Women”.
The most obvious difference between Kim Hee-won Little Women is that, unlike the source material which revolves around the four March sisters, the film only focuses on three sisters who are extremely poor and whose mother is quite narcissistic. Of course, later in the series, we can see that there was another sister who died very young due to the family’s inability to afford medical care. This may be a nod to Beth’s death in the original novel. It is not easy to identify which sister represents the March sisters. However, Oh In-kyung’s (Nam Ji-hyun) character seems to represent Jo March due to her ambitious nature and his desire to pursue her passion in journalism. Oh In-ju (Kim Go-eun) being the eldest, may be reminiscent of Meg, while Oh In-hye (Park Ji-hu) who seems extremely stubborn, seems to resemble Amy. Like Amy, In-hye is an artist. However, In-hye seems to have a supernatural connection with her sister who died young. This connection along with In-kyung’s sisterly love towards her sometimes allows her to resemble Beth. There is definitely a subtle connection between Louisa May Alcott’s March sisters and the Oh sisters from this show.
Another key difference is that the series takes place in modern society and focuses on its problems. Since the episode itself, the series focuses on dark themes that focus heavily on the hierarchical system of the society and the powerful corrupt members of it. To further delve into these themes, the series has included a number of murder mysteries and political agendas, which themselves veer away from the source material. So, Netflix Little Women is very loosely based on the novel by Louisa May Alcott.
Tackle social issues
The complete reinterpretation of the 1868 novel allowed the creators of the series to place emphasis on the social issues that represent the present. One such problem is the gap between rich and poor. For Bong Joon-ho fans Parasitethere may be several accidents in Little Women which they find quite familiar. Like Bong Joon-Ho’s film, the series isn’t afraid to show how harshly the poor are treated. The Oh sisters are manipulated, used and threatened by the rich. This alludes to how people from the lower levels of the social hierarchy are used as mere tools and puppets by the rich and powerful.
The series may also remind viewers of the ongoing debate about nepobabies. Even though In-kyung is an exceptionally talented artist, her friend Park Hyo-rin literally buys her art and produces it as hers. Hyo-rin is able to get things that In-kyung simply because she belongs to a wealthy family.
The theme of corrupt politics is another social issue that the series focuses on. For Park Jae-sang (Um Ki-joon) politics is a simple game and he is willing to kill anyone to achieve his goals. How he is able to get away with anything, easily brainwash people, and even take over the media by buying it is a stark reminder of how corrupt politicians operate today.
Even though Park Jae-sang is seen as the main antagonist from the very beginning of the series, the end allows viewers to understand that it was always Won Sang-ah (Uhm Ji-won), and Park Jae-sang is yet another pawn in his game. The reasoning behind his actions is what’s fascinating. It points out how she was neglected by her father and her friend and next heir for their family, and how they chose Park Jae-sang over her. It’s partly because she’s a woman. This allows the series to focus on how women are constantly overlooked and treated differently because of their gender.
Strong female protagonists
The three Oh sisters continue to challenge their fate and end up succeeding as they make their dreams come true. However, the journey was quite rough. However, how they fought all of that allows them to be portrayed as strong female leads. While the series could have featured two male characters, Ha Jong-h (Kang Hoon) and Choi Do-il (Wi Ha-joon), the three sisters overshadowed them. Indeed, these sisters tend to follow their instincts and rely on themselves without seeking support from these male characters. This allows them to break away from the damsel in distress. Even though In-ju has to rely on Do-il, her suspicious nature allows her to go her own way in many situations. For example, even though she can’t speak or understand English, she uses a translation app to get along with English speakers. Also, the way she stays behind while she declines Do-il’s invitation to go with him to Greece allows her to be an independent woman whose dream is to help her sisters and have an apartment of her own.
Mystery with a little supernatural
One final reason why Little Women is a fascinating series that is a must watch is the way it adds a bit of the supernatural without allowing it to take over the spectacle and distract viewers from the main storyline. The blue orchid or “Vietnam ghost” serves as a tangible element of the supernatural. It allows people to hallucinate, seemingly interact with the dead, and have visions. Screenwriter Seo-kyung said in an interview that he wanted to create “a sense of ambiguity between fantasy and reality”. Clearly, the series has achieved this successfully.