hit counter

‘Little Women’ K-Drama Review: Of Sisterhood and Sinister Events

A rather refreshing and sinister twist on Louisa May Alcott’s beloved novel, the first six episodes have made for an eerie, unpredictable and utterly engrossing experience

A rather refreshing and sinister twist on Louisa May Alcott’s beloved novel, the first six episodes have made for an eerie, unpredictable and utterly engrossing experience

There’s that lingering sense of uneasiness that the first six episodes of K-Drama have little woman let me This might be an apt way of describing what the show evokes, but it’s not something readers would ever associate with Louisa May Alcott’s beloved novel little woman; a book that was a childhood favorite for many.

little woman

director: Kim Hee Won

writer: Ching Seo Kyung

Pour: Kim Go Eun, Nam Ji Hyun, Park Ji Hu, Wi Ha Jun

number of episodes: 12 (previously 6)

summary: After 70 billion won disappears, three sisters face a rich and powerful family and unravel a tangled web of power, corruption and fraud

The book has been adapted for the screen numerous times over the years, most recently Greta Gerwig’s film of the same name, which hit the big screen in 2019 to critical acclaim and success. In this K-Drama version, loosely based on Alcott’s book, acclaimed screenwriter Chung Seo-Kyung brings a rather refreshing and dark twist to what has so far made for an eerie and highly engrossing experience.

The Oh sisters – Oh In-Joo (Kim Go-Eun), Oh In-Kyung (Nam Ji-Hyun) and Oh In-Hye (Park Ji-Hu) – battle their own personal demons while dealing with a financial crisis are in an emergency. In-Joo, the eldest, has a serious job and, much like Meg March in the book, admires and longs for everything that is expensive and beautiful. Hot-headed reporter and seemingly stoic In-Kyung is about to uncover a great story; an investigation into aspiring politician Park Jae Sang (Um Ki-Joon) who is keeping tabs on the city’s mayoral election. The older sisters have a crush on the youngest, quiet art genius In-Kyung, who quickly forms a strong friendship with classmate Park Hyo-Rin. She is also the daughter of Jae-Sang and Won Sang-Ah (Uhm Ji-Won).

When the show introduces us to the sisters, there’s little that goes their way. They live in a cramped house with roaches and a window that just won’t close once it’s forced open, the mother has fled with the money for In-Kyung’s school trip, and things seem pretty bleak for the foreseeable future. Feeling trapped in her cramped quarters, In-Kyung feels much more at home in Hyo-Rin’s massive, gloomy mansion with her seemingly shady and sinister parents as the promise of attending art school in Boston with her friend grows big.

In-Joo’s life is shattered when her friendly but mysterious colleague Jin Hwa-Young (Choo Ja-Hyun) dies, leaving her two billion won and a trail that leads to a larger slush fund of a whopping 70 billion won. As she sets out to delve deeper into her boyfriend’s death while waging an internal war over what is right, she reluctantly allies with Choi Do-Il (Wi Ha-Jun), a slush fund expert.

As the three sisters become entangled in various ways with Jae-Sang and his family, nothing is quite as it seems, unraveling a web of deceit, power play and corruption. Convenient accidents happen in quick succession, the number of people found dead increases alarmingly, and much enigmatic information emerges about embezzlement, double lives, and a seemingly hallucinogenic flora.

If the book had its four protagonists – the March Sisters – who endure domestic and economic hardships while leaning on one another, the K-drama counterpart has the Oh Sisters, who are steadfastly determined in their own way; often naive, deeply idealistic and unpredictable.

Screenwriter Seo-Kyung, a frequent collaborator with director Park Chan Wook, is teaming up with Kim Hee-Won, who most recently directed the hit thriller Vincenzo, to weave a gripping thriller juxtaposed with a trenchant commentary on the lesson. This excellent writing is backed up by superb performances from the ensemble cast, with the sisters making it big. Go-Eun is the gullible but calculating older sister, and Nam Ji-Hyun’s In-Kying is everything you’d expect from Jo March in a modern setting; Circumstances may be different, but their ideals and the fight for their beliefs remain.

What makes a show little woman Work, too, is how visually immersive the experience is. It’s beautifully shot and each image is filled with bursts of color and heat despite the fairly dark process. Color actually contributes to the recurring motifs in the show; A pair of red shoes and the sinister looking blue orchids both seem to play a part in the larger scheme of things.

The show has had twists and turns aplenty so far, but the one in episode six – which kicked off halftime – was by far the best yet. To say more would be to reveal a lot of spoilers and would greatly spoil the experience of being surprised by the excellent writing in each episode.

The unanswered questions and mysteries seem to have only increased with each episode so far and this bodes very well and is exciting for the future of this brilliant thriller.

Little Women is currently streaming on Netflix

Leave a Comment