Based on the classic novel by Louisa May Alcott which was originally published in 1868, this 2019 adaptation of Little Women, written and directed by Greta Gerwig, is the seventh film adaptation of the widely loved story, in which Jo March (Saoirse Ronan) reflects back and forth on her life. She tells the beloved story of the March sisters, four young women – Jo, Meg (Emma Watson), Amy (Florence Pugh), and Beth (Eliza Scanlen) – who are each determined to live life on their own terms.
Little Women is a passionate adaptation of a timeless and timely tale decorated with ravishing country scenery and immaculate costume designs, led by today’s leading actors both young and old. It is beautifully crafted in every way, telling a well-recognised story in a contemporary and progressive way, staying faithful to the book whilst reflecting Gerwig’s own ideals.
I’ve seen a few adaptations of the story already but this is the first that made me cry (twice). The warmth and love that you can feel between these characters is incredibly powerful, just as their individual ambitions and desires in life are, as these vibrant characters are taken from page to screen with such skilled hands that it’s hard not to feel instantly connected to them.
Much of the emotion that exudes from these characters is down to the amazing performances from the absolutely stellar cast. Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, Florence Pugh, and Eliza Scanlen are all phenomenal as the film’s leading ladies. Whilst my only criticism is that Pugh looks beyond her youthful years (as flawlessly stunning as she is), making her immature behaviour often feel too comical, each of the actresses embody their characters perfectly.
Timothée Chalamet is another example of brilliant casting. He’s had some amazing roles over the past couple of years, previously working with Gerwig and Ronan in Lady Bird, and he’s currently an actor that I always look forward to seeing more of. His chemistry with Ronan is one that I struggle to take my eyes off, and as much as I was swooning over his charming looks, I felt this for every character involved.
This is the first time in a long time that I’ve enjoyed both Laura Dern and Meryl Streep, as well, as their roles allowed their big personalities to be put aside for a minute, as they fully divulged into the heart of a classic and allowed the younger actors around them to take their place in the spotlight.
The third film directed by Gerwig, this is definitely her best yet. Not only does she show talent by adapting a story that we have mostly all read or seen some kind of adaptation of and making it her own, but she also shows courage in daring to alter the ending of the story to better unfold Jo’s character. She handles to the story with such delicacy but also as a means to hit hard with its unchanging narrative, something few other directors would have been able to do so significantly.
I can’t wait to see this film again to feel the love between these characters, and I’ve also just bought the book so that I can finally give the wonderful story a read, just as it deserves.