WHAT IT'S ABOUT:
Jo March reflects on the story of her life. The four young women each determined to live life on her own terms have a story both timeless and timely.
WHAT WE THOUGHT:
This is the first time I have ever seen a Little Women adaptation - the latest out of 12 television adaptations and six big-screen versions. I’ve always avoided period anything as it’s a genre I am not personally fond. While there’s critically little to fault Greta Gerwig’s reimagining of the 1868 classic, it was never a movie that was going to get me hyped. But for those who love the book and anything Jane Austen-esque, this Little Women at least modernises the tale to the degree that doesn’t remind you why as a woman you’d never want to travel back in time.
Set during the American Civil War, we find four March sisters determined to carve out a life for themselves of their own choosing despite the pressures of family, society and their own pitfalls.
Saoirse Ronan remains a remarkable actress, well-deserved of her Oscar nomination, but a stand-out performance for me came from Florence Pugh - who plays the wilful Amy March. She transitions throughout the film between being a naive youth to a calculated young woman, her age determined not by makeup or costumes but through her performance. She embodies an incredible strength, and I am looking forward to seeing more of her in the upcoming Black Widow movie.
But beyond a stunning cast - Timothée Chalamet is also worth a mention - the script is the movie’s other strong asset. While it retains the original heart of the story at face value, compared to the 1994 film version, you can feel the modernity in the dialogue and how the sisters interact with each other. Their agency in their lives are more defined, their passions appear more heated, and they force equality from their various partners. It’s already amazing that this story was written in a time where women had the short end of the stick in society, but Gerwig ramps it up further so that a modern audience can relate on a deeper level - whether you’re a free-spirited Jo, a kind Beth, a hotheaded Amy or a practical Meg.
However, I wonder how much of the movie isn’t held up by a romantic nostalgia of women who read the book at a pivotal point in their lives. I’ve never had that kind of relationship with the original, and have perhaps missed the chance for it to have any sort of impact on my current life. I would have preferred something original from Gerwig, despite her great work on this adaptation.
Little Women is a beautiful love letter to the work, and its fans will appreciate and dote on this devotional piece of art. If you have teenage daughters or sisters, this would make an impactful night out as a family at a time that they will relate the most to the March sisters. And while it’s a great showcase of the next generation of acting stalwarts, it will fail to ignite a flame in those who’ve never managed to fall in love with the original.
WATCH THE TRAILER HERE: