Little Women is one of my all-time favourite books so when I the recent film came out I went to see it as soon as possible and it did not disappoint.
The film starts by following the March sisters as adults and then proceeds to alternate between scenes of their childhood together and scenes of how their adult lives have turned out together. This distinction is most clearly demonstrated through the use of a warm, golden overtone when watching their childhood, contrasting greatly with the cooler blue hues used to depict the cold reality of their adult lives, a stylistic choice of Gerwig’s that ought to be applauded.
Furthermore, the outstanding cast truly completed the film, the performances drawing you into this other world seamlessly, with Saoirse Ronan and Florence Pugh’s performances being particularly impressive. Ronan truly embodies the character of Jo March whilst Pugh gives Amy a well-deserved likeable quality, I have not previously come across with regard to the youngest March sister, who is often portrayed as merely a selfish and somewhat immature younger sibling.
Finally, one of my favourite parts of the film is definitely the ending which cleverly pairs the dramatic scenes of Jo chasing the man she loves with her also discussing the publishing of her novel, mirroring a scene from the start of the film.
However, a more important aspect of the film is the undercurrent of feminist thought that runs throughout this 19th century story. The principle that stories of domestic life; that women’s stories are important, as Amy tells Jo, adds an emphasis to the significance of the film. Similarly, the discussion between Laurie and Amy where Laurie poses the question: ‘how many women are allowed into the club of geniuses anyway?’ holds an even greater weight in light of the recent Academy nominations which have once again overlooked the work of many talented women. Finally, Amy’s powerful speech about how marriage is ultimately an economic proposition for women makes for a breath of fresh air next to so many films that centre women, particularly period dramas, who simply look to find a romantic partner and give no reference to the practicalities of what this might mean for them.
Overall, this film was one of the best I’ve seen in a while and more than does justice to the much beloved novel it is based. I would recommend to anyone, whether you’ve read the book or not, that you go to see this film.