Louisa May Alcott’s ‘Little Women’ has been one of my favorite books since childhood. Greta Gerwig’s adaptation is perfect in so many ways.
Each sister has her moment. From Jo getting her terrible haircut and turning down a marriage proposal to Amy visiting Europe and Beth playing the neighbors’ piano, the script seamlessly runs on two different timelines as the girls grow up in the aftermath of the civil war.
Saoirse Ronan as Jo, Emma Watson as Meg, Florence Pugh as Amy, and Eliza Scanlen as Beth hold your attention from beginning to end. As she did in ‘Midsommar’, Florence Pugh stands out, but then so do Saoirse Ronan and Emma Watson. Laura Dern, Timothee Chalamet and Meryl Streep round out the cast so well you can see how much these actors loved working together within this story.
Even the costumes tell their own story. Meg wears blues and reds. Jo wears costumes that combine dresses and clothing given from a male friend. Amy, the artist, as the keenest sense of wardrobe and her costumes are modeled after the best fashion of the era.
My favorite scene is when Jo bargains with the editor when selling her novel and retains her copyright ownership for her work (Something Taylor Swift should have thought about sooner). While Jo is based on Alcott in real life (she remained unmarried and chose to work), Alcott bowed to the pressure to have Jo find love and marry at the end of the book. Gerwig also has Jo marry at the end, but also has Jo writing and unmarried in New York before being brought back home when Beth falls ill. It’s a modern merging of Alcott and Jo. It is done brilliantly in the film.
If this film proves anything, it is that Greta Gerwig is a force to be reckoned with and I hope she is here to bring us more films like ‘Little Women’.