Movie Guide

  • 2020-01-30

Little Women (2019) – in cinemas from Friday, January 24

Writer-director Greta Gerwig (Lady Bird) has crafted a Little Women that draws on both the classic novel and the writings of Louisa May Alcott, and unfolds as the author’s alter ego, Jo March, reflects back and forth on her fictional life. In Gerwig’s take, the beloved story of the March sisters – four young women each determined to live life on her own terms – is both timeless and timely. Portraying Jo, Meg, Amy, and Beth March, the film stars Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, Florence Pugh, Eliza Scanlen, with Timothée Chalamet as their neighbor Laurie, Laura Dern as Marmee, and Meryl Streep as Aunt March.

In the years after the Civil War, Jo March lives in New York and makes her living as a writer, while her sister Amy studies painting in Paris. Amy has a chance encounter with Theodore, a childhood crush who proposed to Jo but was ultimately rejected. Their oldest sibling, Meg, is married to a schoolteacher, while shy sister Beth develops a devastating illness that brings the family back together.

It is a glorious, passionate film, filled with siblings who love and fight with each other with an equal fierceness that none of the other adaptations has managed to convey. The romances and rivalries of the March sisters may have been published more than 150 years ago, but this tale of sisterhood and female empowerment is perpetually evergreen. Moments like these are reminders of the urgency of the text, and of how rewarding it can be for a contemporary audience to re-examine the classic stories we read in our childhood.

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