You know when you love a movie so much you can’t think straight? You have trouble sorting your thoughts right away, so you have to let yourself come down from the movie high? That’s how I felt walking out of the theater for Little Women. In many ways, I’m still speechless.
For me, there is nothing about this film that screams inconsistency or hesitation. The bond between the sisters is part of what makes this story so iconic, and Greta Gerwig doesn’t let that slip through the cracks. The way they talk to and over each other and exist together is seamless. The pacing is pretty rapid throughout for a story that originally takes its time. It feels a bit skittish towards the middle as the back and forth of the flashbacks start to blend. However, its admirable that she pretty much ripped all the pages out of the book, stitched them back together, and sprinkled a bit of her own fairy dust on top. Her execution is exuberant and charming.
Sisters Meg, Amy, Beth, and Jo bring us along on their journey through their trials of adolescence and how they affect their adulthood years later. Gerwig’s adaptation of the beloved novel by Louisa May Alcott is a little different, although in the best way. Instead of splitting up their youth and adult eras, their childhood events are told simultaneously with the later one through flashbacks. Films being told in flashback obviously isn’t something we’ve never seen before, but it’s quite refreshing for this particular story. Gerwig does a great job matching up some of the most crucial beats to their past counterparts, making the film a memory trip for these characters and for us. It’s a story of growing up, finding your truth, and the importance of family. If you’re a fan of the story, you’ll notice a couple details are switched around and others lightly updated, but it never strays away from the bones of the original.
ACTING | CHARACTERS | DIALOGUE:
I could talk about this flawless cast forever, but for your sake I’ll keep it short and sweet. Eliza Scanlen is so heartwarming as Beth, and I’m glad we get to see her relationship with Jo one-on-one. I liked their sisterly chemistry the most. Saiorse Ronan brings Jo to a whole new level of fierceness and wit that I had constant goosebumps during her scenes. I’ve always related to Jo the best out of all the girls, and even more so now. I really appreciate Emma Watson’s vulnerable and tender take on Meg, especially in her younger scenes. Gerwig and Florence Pugh really deemed Amy the fan favorite, which I stand by. They gave her a voice of self worth rather than just being spoiled. I loved that Pugh plays the child and adult versions as she was hilarious yet so sophisticated. I love Timothee Chalamet as Laurie, but I found myself giggling every once in a while at how young he looked compared to all the sisters. Laura Dern was the loveliest possible choice for Marmee. Last but not least, my queen Meryl spits some excellent comedic relief as Aunt March.
VISUAL EFFECTS | MAKEUP | DESIGN:
MUSIC | SCORE | SOUND DESIGN:
One of my favorite film composers, the absolute legend that is Alexandre Desplait, delivers a magical score. It is so bouncy and classy, making my heart want to pounce out of my chest. I’m listening to it as I write this review and it’s helping me remember certain moments of pure joy. The sound design was stellar. I’m a sucker for J-cuts, especially how they're used here for bringing us back and forth from past to present.
The setting and the costumes are the key variables to this timeless piece, and the wonderful work put into these areas show. The outfits are on point and at times breathtaking, like Amy’s at the party in Paris. There were some very memorable shots and transitions that captivated me. I keep thinking specifically of the scene with Jo sitting in the field with her head buried in her arms where you see the miles of autumn landscape and the town beyond her. Everything is rather warm, no matter what the circumstance.
This year was full of film releases that I was excited for. Some ended up being deeply disappointing and forgettable, while others took me by surprise and swept me off my feet. The one film this year that exceeded every one of my expectations and served them on a shiny silver platter is this masterpiece. I highly suggest this film, especially in theaters while you can. I had so much fun watching everyone clap and cheer, but mostly cry (if we’re going to be honest). I can't wait to venture out to the theater again this week. This time I'll be sure to bring my tissues.