Little Women Review
Saoirse Ronan as Jo March
“Little Women” is based upon the 1868 book by Louisa May Alcott.
While his wife and daughters must make ends meet by themselves, 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 an aspiring author and the free spirit of the sisters. Meg loves acting and longs for a family of her own. Amy March focuses on celebrity and wants to marry for money. Finally Beth is a talent and selfless.
As the March girls face the trials and tribulations of life by themselves, they grow from childhood to womanhood. As they venture out by themselves, and their personalities will steer the course of their own lives.
“Little Women” is rated PG for thematic elements and brief smoking.
OK, I’ll admit that”Little Women” is not exactly a movie that typically appeals to me. I prefer movies with apes and explosions in them. But”Little Women” is one of my wife’s favorite books and I owed her after dragging her to every Marvel movie and Star Wars movie this year. But while it was not something I would watch, this movie surprised me.
First up, the cast is phenomenal. Packed with favorites, each celebrity has a moment and brings a touch that is unique to her personality. Most notable for me is Florence Pugh as Amy March. I’m continually amazed by the flexibility of this actress. This year she played with a wrestler in”Struggling With My Family”, a horror movie victim in”Midsommar”, and she’ll play a Russian spy in”Black Widow” next year. To see her in corsets and frilly dresses in”Little Women” is a significant change for her, yet she is equally believable in every role. Here she crazy, she and her sister fight, and takes counsel from her rich spinster aunt. Her performance is one of the fun ones.
The spotlight is on Saoirse Ronan as Jo March and she does deliver a fine performance . Ronan stays a little more in her lane as a spirited, aspiring author character. Jo embodies a number of the features of Louisa May Alcott, so she is the heart of”Little Women” in several respects.
Meg March emma Watson plays. What makes her fun to watch is her interaction with the other actresses, although it’s not a big stretch from her personalities of Belle or Hermione Granger. There is real chemistry between them and they appear to be having fun as they and the sisters play. Early in the role Meg is funny and theatrical, but as she gets older she is 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 fantastic skill.
The rest of the female cast is also impressive. Eliza Scanlen plays the fourth sister, Beth March. Beth has musical ability and is compassionate. She interacts well with Laura Dern who plays with her mother, Marmee March and the other sisters. Dern makes a believable matriarch for these girls and is excellent as well. There’s a bit in all the personalities of her. There’s Meryl Streep as Aunt March. Because the two are polar opposites both have one drive — survival her interaction with Pugh’s Amy is funny.
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 watching”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 guy in”Little Women”. I love him in”Better Call Saul” so it was really a change to see him overwhelmed by four brothers here, yet he handles it well. Timothée Chalamet is also good as Theodore’Laurie’ Laurence. We also see him grow into adult from young man, while we see the young girl’s transition to adulthood. His scenes with Pugh are memorable.
I asked my wife, a”Little Women” fan, what she thought of this film. She enjoyed it. She noticed that the storytelling format was intriguing. It is told in a series of flashbacks. The flashbacks follow the book while the scenes in day reflect more of the story of Alcott’s autobiographical elements. Together you find the real contrast in the characters as they grow and mature. She liked the fact that the story wasn’t overly sappy, a problem with some of the other adaptations of the novel.
I honestly don’t have any complaints about”Little Women” other than it isn’t my cup of tea. It is well acted, it has production design, and it’s a adaptation of a classic book.
If you are a fan of any of the cast or author and director Greta Gerwig, I think you’ll want to check out”Little Women” in theaters. Fans of the Louisa May Alcott book also needs to be happy. And if, like me, your significant other wants to see the movie, I think you’ll find it to be among the classic literature adaptations that are very accessible.
Opening Wednesday December 25, 2019
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