Little Women is an upcoming American coming-of-age period drama film written and directed by Greta Gerwig. It is the eighth feature film adaptation of the 1868 novel of the same name by Louisa May Alcott. Starring Timothée Chalamet, Laura Dern, Tracy Letts, Florence Pugh, Saoirse Ronan (Jo March), Meryl Streep (Aunt March), Emma Watson (Meg March), among others, the plot centers on lives of the four March sisters in Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy in their passage from childhood to womanhood.
The Movie-Warden’s take.
The fact that this film has been adapted not once, not twice, not thrice, but 7 times over the years is a clear testament that it’s a story that really resonates well with audiences and is deserving of as many retellings as possible. Personally, I haven’t read Alcott’s book which this movie is based on or watched any of the previous film adaptations nonetheless, the trailer has me convinced and I am now really looking forward to seeing it. I do have an early issue with it though, I’ll get to them later on in this reaction.
I can see this film being the beginning of a long-standing actor-director relationship between Greta Gerwig and Saoirse Ronan, the latter previously starring in Gerwig’s solo directorial debut Lady Bird. Saoirse was superb in that film so it was a natural choice for the director to give her a lead role in this story and based on the trailer, her character Jo seems to shine through it.
I am looking forward to some really great performances in the movie as well, if the acting talents are anything to go by. The likes of Dern, Ronan, Streep, Chalamet and Watson have all proved their worth in previous Oscar nominated movies that they have starred in in recent times and thus this 1860’s period piece should be a walk in the park, right? Well, let’s hope the material they are working with in the screenplay fits them like a glove.
The playful comradery between the young and ambitious sisters seems quite inviting and I also understand and relate with the individual characters. The four, like many of us in the contemporary world, are just trying to make a name for themselves but in a world where females are thought of and treated in a substantially demeaning way by society. This is evident in the clip where Jo is pitching her story idea to the publisher who eventually advises her to have the main character, if it’s a girl, to be married by the end. The latter alludes to the idea that women can’t stand on their own and therefore need a man in their lives to support them.
Supposedly, the film will be jumping back and forth in time over the course of it’s runtime focusing more on themes rather than narrative; if this is true then its an issue for me. In my perspective, the story is the main aspect of any movie and other aspects such as themes, tones or character performances are meant to complement it and make it better.
However, I don’t think it is right to prioritize certain themes at the expense of realising a cohesive narrative because it would mean that the film is basically pushing certain agendas; in this case, female empowerment. Don’t get me wrong though, I am not against the subject; I think it’s a positive thing and it speaks to the times we live in now. That said, I don’t think it should be massively overemphasized to the extent where a movie is overwhelmingly pushing a female empowerment agenda; just saying!
(Imagery courtesy of Columbia Pictures and Sony Pictures)