Movie Review: Little Women
by Julie Perez
The first time that I tried reading Little Women by author Louisa May Alcott, I stopped halfway through because Jo felt like a reflection of myself that I didn’t feel like facing. She was all ambition, completely unafraid to ask questions that didn’t always have answers and a brain full of words that often came out of her all at once.
I never actually went back to finish the novel and now I don’t have to (kidding, don’t stop reading kids). Though the novel has been turned into a film a few times, Greta Gerwig still found a way to make her rendition feel brand new. Greta’s version of Little Women is full of heart and passionate conviction. With Saoirse Ronan leading the way, the ensemble cast breathes new life into a familiar and beloved story.
Though each actress finds strength in each of their characters, the magic truly occurs when they’re on screen together. A bond that may have taken months to create, looks absolutely effortless through Greta’s lens.
Laura Dern excels as the matriarch of the family and makes it abundantly clear that there is nothing that she can’t do and no one that she is unable to portray. Her kind demeanor lays the best foundation for her little women. I’ll admit that my faith in Emma Watson and her American accent was small and fleeting but I was pleasantly surprised. It could have been that I found myself enamored with the way Meg March loved that I wasn’t counting the beats between her words or the way her vowels curved, but Watson brought a determination to Meg that felt necessary.
Sweet. If I was being forced to describe Eliza Scanlen’s portrayal of Beth, it would undoubtedly be: sweet. She was layered in shyness and talent, with a dash of the loving spirit that had you rooting for her and though you knew her demise was inevitable (no spoiler alert for that one, there is no way you didn’t already know that) you still found yourself rooting for her the entire time. Florence Pugh is the undeniable definition of a scene-stealer; her portrayal of Amy carried the weight of a younger sister while providing you with enough vulnerability that had you wrapped around her little finger. Florence Pugh is slowly becoming an actress to watch and if her projects in 2019 have any say in the matter, she’s well on her way to becoming legendary.
Saoirse Ronan as Jo March is heartbreakingly real. Jo carries a feminist mindset that is way ahead of her time and when the world fights against her being, she finds her strength so that she can fight back. Saoirse could make my heartbreak with a blink of an eye, her body language tells a story of its own while she allows the words that were written for her to crash out of her with a passion that forces the energy off of the screen.
I found myself aching for these women.
Greta Gerwig’s attention to detail played an important role in how easily the storyline came together. Though admittedly, it was a bit difficult to keep up with the flashbacks and I found myself lost a couple of times as I tried to figure out where in the timeline we were, it all wonderfully-fit together. Truly a minuscule issue when you look at the grandiose creation that is Greta Gerwig’s film.
Little Women finds itself being a reminder for the emotional, the passionate, the talented and the hopeless romantic, that life feels so much more worthwhile with a group of strong women around you.