Little Women Review

An empowering modernisation of Louisa May Alcott’s classic which we women needed.

I have to admit, I was late to the party with Little Women, I never read the book when I was younger and I did the classic, three days before release date, “I’m going to read the book first”. As per, I didn’t finish it in time and went to the cinema anyway, contrary to my (often-broken) rule. And oh my was that film incredible! 

(Left to right) Emma Watson as Meg, Saoirse Ronan as Jo, Florence Pugh as Amy and Eliza Scanlen as Beth

I mean, it was hard not to be… Greta Gerwig’s direction, that cast, and a 19th century story celebrating family, femininity and love (of all kinds)… it’s flawless. Greta’s modernisation of the beloved story uses a series of flashbacks to mirror the characters’ lives as adults and as the Little Women they are at the beginning of the chronological story. When interviewed, Greta said this was a reflection on her re-reading the book as an adult, and it works excellently to mirror different moments of the women’s’ lives so wonderfully emotionally. 

The film’s casting is flawless, particularly Saoirse Ronan as Jo March, playing the iconic feminist lead who was so influential in the 1800s as I’m sure Saoirse’s character will be this time… since we know it’s hard for Saoirse and Greta not to create an incredible female character (Lady Bird). Similarly, the chemistry between Saoirse Ronan and Timothée Chalamet, who makes such a charming and amiable Laurie, is once again phenomenal, particularly for me in the dance scene.

The Dance Scene, Saoirse Ronan and Timothée Chalamet as Jo and Laurie

The blend of acting and choreography alongside the ever-incredible music from Alexandre Desplat together make the most beautiful scene depicting love, friendship and the confidence to be yourself, which are essentially the film’s key values. The music is enchanting throughout as the film blends Desplat’s, Acadamy nominated original music with classical pieces, a melange similar to, and in fact helping the audience to understand, the paralleling of time. Acting wise, Florence Pugh also received a deserved Oscar nomination, as supporting role to Saoirse’s lead nomination, for her wonderful performance as Amy March… a character who you sometimes love and sometimes hate.

The March Women (Left to right) Saoirse Ronan, Laura Dern, Eliza Scanlen, Emma Watson and Florence Pugh

Gerwig’s choice to parallel across two time periods aids this and adds such an interesting dimension to our identification with the four sisters, who together have the most incredible bond with such outstanding performances. The ensemble scenes accentuate to me the incredible casting and acting, and the warmth it brought me to see five phenomenal actors bringing the March women to the 21st century. 

Suffice to say, as the lights went up, myself and the 3 strong women I watched it with, turned to each other with tear stained eyes, smiled, and hugged tightly.

Concourse is Keele University’s independent student-run publication and has a long history of promoting student journalism. Having been established in 1964, Concourse has become an important part of the university and has been read by generations of Keelites.

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