Title: Little Women
Director: Greta Gerwig.
Genre: Drama, Comedy, Period piece.
Main Cast: Saoirse Ronan, Florence Pugh, Emma Watson, Eliza Scanlen, Timothee Chalamet.
Runtime: 135 mins.
IMDb rating: 8.3/10.
My rating: 7/10.
Quick summary: A genuinely lovely movie that packs a surprising emotional punch. Saoirse Ronan is phenomenal in this movie that deals with love, death and the rise of powerful women.
Jo March, played by Ronan, is a writer and tutor living in New York. She is fiercely proud of her writing but needs money to send to her mother back home who is caring for her gravely ill youngest sister, Beth. Meanwhile, Amy March, the second youngest sister is completing her art studies in Paris with the rude, condescending sometimes benefactor to the family, Aunt March. Older sister Meg, who has always valued the high life, is living just above the poverty line with her husband and two the children.
The news that Beth is at death’s door reaches Jo. She immediately leaves New York, leaving friend and possible love interest Friedrich behind. As she travels home by train she reminisces on the four March girls growing up in modest circumstances while helping poor families around them. We see a blossoming friendship between Jo and Laurie, a local wealthy boy, and an unrequited love that forms. We see Meg fall in love, Amy grow bold and confident, a rivalry between Jo and Amy and Beth fall sick.
Throughout the film and the flashing back and forth we go on Jo’s journey with her; should she have accepted Laurie’s proposal?
Jo finds her love of writing return towards the end of the movie and begins writing a novel that tells the story of her and her sisters. It mightn’t be the most exciting story but it is something that she is passionate about. Getting a novel published has always been her dream and it happens for her right at the end, allowing the sisters to find happiness in the darkness that follows Beth’s death.
A thoroughly enjoyable film, this one will be all over awards season. Saoirse Ronan is supreme as Jo March while Timothee Chalamet grew on me throughout. At the beginning I just couldn’t buy him in this period piece for some unknown reason but his charm won me over.
Florence Pugh was so funny and precocious in this movie. She is not so much a breakout star as a rising star in her own right but this performance will bring her to a wider audience. I would like to see her gain some nominations for her role. She can turn on the seriousness too, giving an impassioned speech about a woman’s worth in the male driven world, stunning Laurie into a rare silence.
It is told in non-linear fashion and can be easily followed. There is no real indication of which time we are in bar different hair styles and location but as I said, it is very easy to follow.
This adaptation is the first of the Little Women I’ve seen and it has made me want to read the book. It is beautifully told and wonderfully acted. Greta Gerwig is a magnificent story teller and her cast are magnificent. I would highly recommend this for a quiet Sunday evening. It will hit you in most emotional areas and leave you feeling full of love.