Little Big Women review – an emotional but slightly laboured Taiwanese drama

By Daniel Hart
Published: February 5, 2021 (Last updated: November 11, 2023)
Taiwanese Netflix film Little Big Women


Little Big Women is a fond reminder that confronting death is equally as important as honouring being alive.

This review of Taiwanese Netflix film Little Big Women contains significant spoilers. The drama was released on the streaming service on Feb 5, 2021.

From the first moments, Little Big Women feeds off grief. The silence is the answer. The unspoken words are frustrating. The confrontations are a relief. The Netflix film follows a family grappling with the death of an estranged father, and the life he left behind in his absence. The film explores the dynamics between the mother and her daughters. Personal objections are not immediately apparent. The impact on each one feels empty.

The most interesting character is the mother, who has lost her husband, but appears to take each day in her stride; social scenarios are not a problem for her, and the director does remarkably well to focus and make her a character study; the now assumed hierarchy of the family; the one with the answers, cold and warm truths. If you’ve ever had a family member that takes the mantle, without a word even said, and navigates conversations, then the Taiwanese film Little Big Women will all feel too familiar.

From a directorial perspective (Joseph Chen-Chieh Hsu), the scenes are purposefully labored; with barely any soundtrack, the Netflix film relies on the atmospheric environment; raindrops and the movements of characters add to the plot — it personifies the emotion in a room at a given time.

But at a run time of two hours and 15 minutes, Netflix’s Little Big Women does expect audience participation; it expects viewers to care for that long of an empty void in a fractured family, looking to fill it with answers. It asks a little too much from the viewer, and while the story attempts to provide snippets of normal life circumstances like marriage problems and the expectation of a new baby in the family, it doesn’t fulfill the time to secure itself as a fine piece of work.

But it does highlight the impact death can have, regardless of the deceased person’s presence. And from that angle, Little Big Women is a fond remind that confronting death is equally as important as honoring being alive. There are no quick answers; grief is not a straightforward process. As the film naturally meanders towards the funeral, the message has already reached the audience.

It’s such a shame about the length because I sincerely believe viewers will struggle to hang on to a beautiful story.

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Movie Reviews, Netflix