Most of you probably know at this stage that there is a new adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s masterpiece Little Women currently in cinemas. This new version of the classic story has a star-studded cast including Emma Watson, Timothée Chalamet, Meryl Streep and Ireland’s very own Saoirse Ronan as the rebellious Jo March.
It is directed by Greta Gerwig (a woman who was snubbed for a Best Director nomination by The Academy) and instead of simply telling us a story that many of us already know, she changes certain aspects of the story that can only be done through film that help to improve the story line, certain characters and it pays more of a tribute to it’s author than the published book itself does.
It is impossible to not relate to one of the four women in some shape or form and not see yourself as one of these characters. These characteristics are not just the type you see in just women and girls, everyone can relate to aspects of these eccentric characters.
First off is Meg, the eldest sister. She is a romantic at heart and is in love with the idea of love. She and just wants to be happy in life but sometimes she just wants to treat herself.
Then there is Beth. She is more introverted than her older sisters and loves playing the piano more than anything. She has an admiration for her elder sisters (especially Jo) that anyone who has an older sibling can understand and relate to.
The remaining March sisters, Jo and Amy, are in my opinion are two sides of the same coin. They would never realise it themselves, but they are more alike than they realise. They are both stubborn and wish to be remembered for their own achievements and not for being their husband’s wives. They do things to one another that make you want to scream.
Normally when I read the book or watch one of the older adaptations, I cannot stand Amy’s character. She is normally portrayed as spoiled and somewhat villainous, however in this new film, Amy, is portrayed as a realist and knows the responsibilities put on her shoulders. This makes Amy a more sympathetic and real person.
Now, onto Jo March. Out of the four sisters, she is a main-protagonist and by far my favourite character (always has been). She is ambitious, determined and a woman born in the wrong time period. She doesn’t care for marriage or children like the society at the time expects her to, all she cares about is being a writer and getting her work published.
Playing Jo can be a career changing role for many actresses and fingers crossed it gets Ronan her first Academy Award after being nominated several times in the past.
The story is considered a classic for a reason, a classic, no matter how old it gets it has a sort of timelessness to it that makes readers continuously wish to read it.
You are with these girls throughout an important period of their lives, the progression of childhood into adulthood. This makes you feel more attached to them as you feel like that you have been with them for a long time. Therefore, whenever you hear what happens to each of them at the end, it’s so satisfying.
There is no denying it that Greta Gerwig did her research for this film. She didn’t just watch one of the older versions of the film or read a Spark Notes summary online. She went beyond the novel itself as her source material and this is evident throughout. It is submitted that she read other works by Alcott and included pieces of her other work as monologues in some scenes. She read letters as well that Alcott wrote explaining the reasons as to why she wrote certain story lines for certain characters no matter how controversial these came to be. Gerwig took risks with the cinematography that if done badly could make the film seem confusing and choppy. However, after the first five minutes you manage to adjust to, and it benefits the ending enormously.
Whenever I saw this film, I noticed something that interested me that I wanted to mention. Most of the audience stayed behind to watch the credits. The last time I remember seeing this was when I would watch a Marvel film in the cinemas. The only difference between the two films is that Marvel films most of the time, give you a guaranteed end credits scene meaning that you get a reward for staying behind whereas films like Little Women are not the type to do this. This shows the impact this film had on people, nobody was in a rush to leave and people were willing to stay until the screen went completely black, the lights are back on and the guy comes in to clean up all the spilled popcorn left behind.
Overall, even though I have been vague about this film (because I am trying to save you from spoilers) I am telling you that you should do yourself a favour and watch this film as it is a delight to watch and is guaranteed to give you a warm fuzzy feeling inside. Little Women is not just for women, it is for everyone.
And I swear, if this film does not come home from the Oscars with some gold on Sunday, I will be very upset. ☹