Dare we say it, Louisa May Alcott’s classic 1868/69 novel has once again had another on-screen adaptation. From countless TV series and this being the fourth big-screen attempt at portraying Alcott’s work, we aren’t short of (pun intended) Little Women films. We expected the story to now be a tired thing that’s been seen multiple times and another re-make unnecessary – how wrong we were. Greta Gerwig has carefully tweaked the story and is telling it in a way that hasn’t been seen before by using parallel narratives from the two parts between each character’s childhood and adulthood. With a stellar cast of fantastic women, this feminist story is a joy to watch and packs in the emotion too. Check out our five reasons to see Little Women below!
1. The bond between the sisters
Anyone with siblings they are close to can tell you that they would do pretty much anything for them, and this is seen so clearly in the characters here. The bond between them all, allowing forgiveness at the hardest of times and stopping at nothing to get the best from each other is so commendable. Meg (Emma Watson), Jo (Saoirse Ronan), Amy (Florence Pugh) and Beth March (Eliza Scanlen), the sisters of a middle-to-lower class family are played with such heart that we are willing them to succeed with all their paths. It is truly believable that the women on the screen really are sisters and care so much for each other. From the moment the film begins you are totally engrossed in their connections.
2. The story is absolutely timeless
It is incredible that a book written 150 years ago can feel like it fits in perfectly today with the themes it tackles. Featuring heavily on women being allowed to pursue the lives they wish to lead rather than what a man chooses for them, the main subject of the piece is something prominent today. Modern day sexism is now rightfully called out so frequently in society, it’s as if this book was published only yesterday. The story is such a celebration of women and female empowerment, it is so refreshing to see a period drama that hits those topics.
3. Every character is so unique
As mentioned earlier, the sisters are all played so wonderfully, each with their own creative strength in the arts, be it writing, acting, painting or music. That feels like something that young women now shouldn’t be afraid to excel in. Laura Dern (Marmee) and Meryl Streep (Aunt March) stand out with brilliant supporting performances. Dern with an endearing mother’s love for her family and Streep portraying a woman who’s lived through enough to know every other person inside out brings some welcome humour to the film.
The main love interest of the story, Laurie is played by Timothée Chalamet. His performance was acted with such believability and his love being very apparent. Chalamet’s acting skills are exquisite and always a pleasure to watch, this time being no exception.
4. There’s so much to the story
With 4 sisters and a supporting cast of neighbours, lovers, their parents and other relatives, this film is full of storylines all adding to the overall flow of the film. All dealing with separate challenges in love and loss, each character’s arc has a lot of sincerity and worth.
The way Greta Gerwig has adapted Louisa May Alcott’s novel tells the film in a different way than before. Having present and past storylines intertwined helps with the emotional impact as certain characters retrace their footsteps in later life. Gerwig’s alteration with the ending (no spoilers!) gives the film a fitting finale that suits the characters involved and feels even more satisfying than the original.
5. It’s pretty emotional!
After becoming so invested from such great writing, acting and storytelling, it’s no wonder the character’s hardships hit with such emotion. Laura Dern and Saoirse Ronan really stand out in these scenes and give such powerful performances to evoke empathy in even the hardest of hearts.
Along with sad emotion, there’s a few scenes of elation too; one seeing Jo (Ronan) driving a hard bargain with her publisher (played wonderfully by Tracy Letts) giving us a real sense of “sticking it to the man”, which is a lot of fun to see her command that scene.
The greatest pairing we take from Little Women is that of director and writer Greta Gerwig and actor Saoirse Ronan. From their success with Ladybird (also featuring Timothée Chalamet and Tracy Letts) and now this film too, we are really hoping this is another director/actor relationship we get to see time and time again in the future.