Little Women Review

Little Women

Louisa May Alcott’s “Little Women” has been read by millions for over a hundred years now. The story of Jo, Meg, Amy, and Beth has charmed readers for its love, affection, and peace between all of the characters in the books. As you can imagine, the book has been adapted on stage, films, and television a number of times. Yet the last time we’ve had a cinematic version of the March sisters was back in 1994. Now, with an all-star cast and an intelligent director, Little Women is coming back to the big screen. But is Greta Gerwig’s adaptation something worthy for fans of the book?

In some ways, it improves on the book by adding layers to certain characters. These well-written characters will give fans of the book a new perspective on some of their favorite characters. Unfortunately, the non-linear storytelling aspect of the film might be confusing to those unfamiliar with the book.

Little Women follows Jo, Meg, Amy, and Beth March, as they come of age in the aftermath of the Civil War. Through thick and thin, fights and loves, the March sisters stand by each other through difficult and changing times.

Little Women - Saoirse Ronan and Timothee Chalamet

The film is quite different from the 1993 adaptation starring Winona Ryder. Instead, Gerwig’s adaptation focuses more on the March women as young adults and actual adults. Unfortunately, we don’t get different actors for the younger versions of the characters. This is normally fine if it weren’t for the fact that the film also doesn’t go in chronological order. The film constantly jumps back and forth in time and without any warning. So you ever know what time frame you’re in whenever it switches scenes. It can be very jarring at times since you don’t know what time they’re in unless you’re paying close attention.

As a result, the storyline continually goes all over the place. It doesn’t coherently tell the story of the March sisters because of all the time jumps and the mixing of subplots. You’ll have to piece everything together while paying extra close attention to what’s going on. There are some telltale signs of whether you’re watching the past or present. Signs like Meg going out on social events or Amy in Europe.

Little Women also go meta as well. It strongly hints at the long-lived belief that author Louisa May Alcott based Jo March on her. In the film, it’s Jo March that’s the author of Little Women which is an idea that wasn’t in the 1993 adaptation. This can also get a bit confusing for those who are unfamiliar with the books.

Little Women - Florence Pugh, Saoirse Ronan, and Emma Watson

Yet the characters’ sibling love is all there. The family drama that made this story a beloved classic for over a hundred years is still the beating heart of the film. Once again, you’ll feel for certain characters more than others. However, all of the characters are better written here than in previous adaptations—especially for Amy.

Amy isn’t just a stuck up priss from the previous adaptations. She has plenty of reasons for being the way that she is. All of them are understandable reasons especially if you recognize the time they’re in. Remember they’re living in the late-19th century so there are certain expectations for women at that time. So her honesty and drive to marry a “sugar daddy” are valid. You also feel for her plight in being second best behind Jo all the time. She tries hard to be at the same level as her sister but Jo always seems to keep her at bay.

Regardless, there is palpable chemistry between all of the actors in the film. Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, Florence Pugh, and Eliza Scanlen all play off each other well. They play off each other and react as real sisters do. Timothee Chalamet also plays well against the sisters.

Overall, Little Women can adapt the material well for modern audiences. Unfortunately, the storytelling aspect of the film will confuse viewers if they’re not paying attention. Issues asides, the film delightfully showcases the love and drama of the much-beloved March sisters.

Rating: 3/5 atoms

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