Little Women Review



“Little Women” is based upon the 1868 novel by Louisa May Alcott.

While his wife and daughters have to make ends meet on their own, during the Civil War, the patriarch of the March family is away at war. They’re led by their mother, Marmee, who teachers independence and them compassion in the face of adversity. Jo March is the free spirit of the sisters and an aspiring writer. Meg enjoys longs and acting . Amy March focuses on popularity and wants to marry for money. Beth is selfless and a musical talent.

They develop from childhood to womanhood, as the March girls face the trials and tribulations of life on their own. And their special personalities will steer the course of their own lives as they venture out on their own.

“Little Women” is rated PG for thematic elements and brief smoking.

What Worked:

OK, I’ll admit that”Little Women” isn’t exactly a picture that typically appeals to me. I usually prefer movies with apes and explosions in them. However,”Little Women” is one of my wife’s favorite novels and I owed her after yanking her to every Marvel movie and Star Wars film this year. But while it was this film pleasantly surprised me.

To start, the cast is phenomenal. Packed with favorites, every celebrity brings a touch that is special to her character and has a moment to shine. Most notable for me is Florence Pugh as Amy March. I’m continually amazed by the flexibility of the actress. This year she played a wrestler in”Fighting With My Family”, a horror movie victim in”Midsommar”, and she will play a Russian spy in”Black Widow” next year. To see her in corsets and frilly dresses in”Little Women” is quite a change for her, yet she’s equally believable in every function. Here she crazy, she takes counsel from her spinster aunt played by Meryl Streep, and struggles with her sister. Her performance is one of the enjoyable ones to watch.

The spotlight is on Saoirse Ronan as Jo March and she does provide a performance that is fine as well. Ronan stays a bit more in her lane as a free spirited, aspiring author character. Jo embodies a number of the characteristics of Louisa May Alcott, so she’s the heart of”Little Women” in several respects.

Emma Watson plays Meg March. What makes her fun to see is her interaction with the other actresses, although it’s not a stretch from her personalities of Belle or Hermione Granger. There is real chemistry between them and they seem to be having fun as they play with the sisters. Early in the role Meg is funny and theatrical, but as she gets older she’s weighed down by the burdens of life and her duty as a wife and mother. Watson handles those transitions between her character’s stages in life with great skill.

The remainder of the female cast is impressive. Eliza Scanlen and the sister, Beth March play. Beth has talent and is compassionate. She interacts well with Laura Dern who plays Marmee March, her mother and the other sisters. Dern makes a matriarch for these girls and is excellent as well. There’s a bit of her. Then there’s Meryl Streep as Aunt March. Her interaction with the Amy of Pugh is amusing because the two are polar opposites yet both have one push — survival.

They hold their own against the female cast, while the guys are all supporting characters in this story. Chris Cooper is memorable as Mr. Laurence. Right before viewing”Little Women” I saw Cooper in”A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood”. It was a dramatic transformation for Cooper between the two functions and it was nice to see him as a great man in”Little Women”. It was equally unusual to see Bob Odenkirk as Mr. March. I love him in”Better Call Saul” so it was quite a change to see him overwhelmed by four brothers here, yet he handles it well. Timothée Chalamet is fantastic as Theodore’Laurie’ Laurence. We see him grow into adult from irresponsible man while we see the girl’s transition to adulthood. His scenes with Pugh are also memorable.

I asked my wife, a”Little Women” fan, what she thought of the film. She enjoyed it. She noticed that the storytelling format was intriguing. It is told in a series of flashbacks. While the scenes in day reflect more of Alcott’s autobiographical elements of the 21, the flashbacks follow the novel. You find the real contrast in the characters as they mature and grow. She also enjoyed the fact that the story wasn’t overly sappy, a issue with some of the adaptations of the novel.

What Didn’t Work:

I honestly don’t have any complaints about”Little Women” besides it’s not my cup of tea. It is well acted, it has production design, and it’s a solid adaptation of a novel.

The Bottom Line:

If you are a fan of any of the cast or writer and director Greta Gerwig, I think you’ll want to check out”Little Women” in theaters. Fans of the Louisa May Alcott novel should also be happy. And if, like me, your significant other wants to see the film, I think you’ll find it to be among the more accessible literature adaptations that are classic.

Opening Wednesday December 25, 2019


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