The 2019 version of Little Women is the eighth film adaptation of the classic novel by Louisa May Alcott. I really enjoyed this coming-of-age film, mostly because of the genuine performances but also because these young women are so powerful, sensitive, smart and gentle.
In an era of superheroes, galaxies and futuristic sci-fi films with special effects, this classic story reminds us of the power of good classic literature and simple characters. I read the original book a long time ago, so when I found out the movie was coming out, I was very excited. This adaptation is well done and touching.
This movie is about four sisters in America in the aftermath of the Civil War. Jo (Saoirse Ronan), Meg (Emma Watson), Amy (Florence Pugh) and Beth (Eliza Scanlen) occasionally get into fights, especially the youngest with the oldest, but they all bond and share a simple life together. They are united, but they have unique and different personalities. The story goes back and forth in time, and the time reference in the film is unclear, which makes the story difficult to follow at times.
One the sisters, Jo, is trying to pursue an art career. She loves to write books and is having trouble actually getting her book published or even come up with some new ideas. The film shows how the sisters interconnect with the book storytelling while they are trying to figure out their future and how to deal with all the chaos in their lives. In the film, we see them all under the same roof and how their life evolves as adults when they don’t live together anymore.
All the performances are very good. I particularly like Scanlen as Beth, who has a fascinating arc. I also love the performance of Timothée Chalamet as Theodore “Laurie” Laurencehe, who falls in love with Jo but is Beth’s love when he first appears in the sisters’ lives. Chalamet and Ronan worked together previously in Lady Bird with the same director. Greta Gerwig, and they create a whole different dynamic in this film.
Laura Dern plays Marmee March, the mother of the four sisters. Her caring portrayal is more supportive mom than a matriarch because these young ladies are definitively leaders of their own lives. Dern nails the tone that this character requires.
I like the music by film composer Alexandre Desplat. Gerwig manages to retell the classic story in a new way, keeping the essence of a story that has captivated people over the years. It is soft, subtle and perfect for new audiences. I really like the costumes and color palette. Each and every scene is beautiful to watch, particularly the ones at the beach, perhaps because the romanticism of the sea.
Little Women shows girls who are independent, able to succeed without a partner and bond in a special way. I give it 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 17 and adults.