Little Women Movie Review - A uniquely appealing adaptation of a Classic

Updated: 06 February, 2020 16:55 IST | Johnson Thomas | Los Angeles

Emma Watson starrer Little Women runs on two timelines, past and present mixing nostalgia and currency in an intriguing parade propelled by memories.

A still from Little Women trailer.  Image source: Youtube/@Sony Pictures Entertainment
A still from Little Women trailer. Image source: Youtube/@Sony Pictures Entertainment

Little Women

U/A: Drama, Romance
Director: Greta Gerwig
Cast: Saoirse Ronan, Florence Pugh, Emma Watson, Laura Dern, Eliza Scanlen
Rating: Rating

Greta Gerwig's continued attempt to further her solo directorial dream after the much lauded 'Lady Bird' is yet another commendable piece of cinema –this time a revered much adapted classic 'Little Women,' that has serenaded several generations of viewers ever since cinema gained prominence. Despite the multiple gold-standard iterations both on TV and cinema that Louisa May Alcott's immortal 19th-century novel (originally published in two parts in 1868 and 1869), has inspired, Gerwig's version stands strong and comes off as potent, empathetic and immensely appealing. Hers is a unique voice that makes-over the classic tale in an adaptation that feels just as emphatic and powerful despite the period setting and the antiquated values on display.

The March Sisters Jo, Meg, Amy and Beth work their way into our hearts and it's not all that easy as they are all neither sacrificial lambs nor assertive path-breaking feminists. The underlying theme here is of forgiveness, sharing and caring that overcomes the odds of individuality and ambition. We first meet-up with the head-strong, career-woman, Jo living at a boarding house in New York, pursuing her dreams to become a novelist. She is eagerly looking forward to a career as a writer despite having heard a "no" from an editor (Tracy Letts) who wants her to give her female characters the conventional happy ending of marriage, she has also bumped into her her harshest critic Professor Bhaer (Louis Garrel), who she falls in love with eventually.

Check out the Little Women trailer here:

We also get glimpses of the artistically inclined, Europe-touring Amy (Florence Pugh) and her entangled emotions regarding a beloved ex-neighbor Laurie (Timothée Chalamet), the oldest sister Meg(Emma Watson), who marries for love, the youngest, talented pianist Beth(Eliza Scanlen), their all sacrificing mother referred to as Marmee(Laura Dern), as well as Aunt March (Meryl Streep) the matriarch whose wealth and patronage could make a huge difference to the family trying to find a footing in a class based society.

Gerwig's narrative, edited by Nick Houy, is non-linear and resilient, her signature style infusing both optimism and enthusiasm in creating a yarn that tells the travails of a family of women who grapple with circumstances, desires and tragedy with amazing buoyancy. The film runs on two timelines, past and present mixing nostalgia and currency in an intriguing parade propelled by memories. The non-linear structure employed here may not be completely coherent but it's emotional peaks are so well defined that you can't help but experience the aches, pains and joys of living in a period made tumultuous by war and strife. The riveting performances and star powered turns adds a great deal of appeal to the oft-told tale. Gerwig makes her version of the classic tale both inventive and innovative –thus enhancing it's appeal for the new generation that are more than likely to cotton on to this refined work of unique distinction.

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First Published: 06 February, 2020 16:29 IST

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