A Review of ‘Little Women’


Graphic by Anila Marks '22

Greta Gerwig’s 2019 Little Women perfectly reflects the 19th century book by Louisa May Alcott, yet still brings a modern sensibility with it. The cast includes Soiarse Ronan as Jo March, Emma Watson as Meg March, Florence Pugh as Amy March, Laura Dern as Mary March, Meryl Streep as Aunt March, and Timothee Chalamet as Theodore “Laurie” Lawrence. Each actor truly exhibits the deep longing for the passion or belief that their character has. Set in Civil War America, the plot centers on the lives of the March sisters, whose passions include writing, acting, music, and art. These strong-willed sisters navigate life as young women finding their place in the world, finding who they are individually, challenging the system that constricts women, yet always coming back together as the four March sisters. They are advised and guided by their mother, Mary March (played by Laura Dern), and by their Aunt March (played by Meryl Streep). If you’re looking for a movie not only with strong women actors, but some of the strongest women characters, Little Women is for you.
A primary aspect of the film is how it switches from present to past, and if you are not familiar with the story, it’s hard to keep up with the plot as the characters are often looking back on a memory. The scenes of the past are identified with a warm tint on the film picture, while the present has a sort of washed-out tone. Although the switching times can be confusing, they are a way that Gerwig lures the audience into the complexities that the movie presents.
As the changing color tones of the movie show, it is filled with warmth, silliness, and hope, yet also an immense amount of anger. Though it is far from an action film, the intricacies of the characters and their complex emotions are in fact what make it so captivating. As my family and I walked out of the theater on a December night last year, we all had tears in our eyes not only because of the tragedies of the movie, but because of the simple beauties of the movie as well. In fact, one of the reasons I knew I had to see Little Women on opening day was because of the director’s past works, like Lady Bird. Also starring Soirse Ronan and Timothee Chalemet as main characters, Lady Bird brings the same kind of beauty as Little Women through tactics such as the way the film is angled and the color of the picture. In the first scenes of Little Women, we are not only greeted with the elegant dresses and wardrobe, but also just the beauty of the scenery\; filled with the cozy March house or an open plaza where Amy March jumps off the carriage to see her old friend Laurie.
Little Women includes all of the beautiful and all of the ugly. It is filled with all of the inspiring, angry speeches Jo March gives, all of the tears Amy March sheds, and all of the music Beth March makes. Unless you only watch action films, I strongly suggest Little Women for a good quarantine watch. So grab your tissues and be prepared to give your family a big hug afterwards.