“Little Women” Steals the Hearts of Many as the New Movie Takes a Modern Twist on a Classic

Sophie Castro, Editor

With four Little Women film adaptations already in existence, many were skeptical of yet another adaptation of the novel, which director Greta Gerwig released in Christmas 2019. However, as audiences crowded the theaters and critics prepared to denounce this unnecessary addition to the Little Women chronicles, many were shocked to find this movie refreshingly brilliant. 


With its incredible director and impressive cast, this film is an adaptation which stays true to the story we all know and love while still taking enough liberties to make this adaptation stand out from the rest.


Gerwig, Whom the Oscars nominated for both her screenplay and direction in the 2018 film Ladybird, starts the film at the end, as Joe (Saorise Ronan) sells her short stories to the publisher in New York. The audience gets a glimpse of the sister’s lives near the end of the story as they enter into adulthood, with Amy (Florence Pugh) in Paris, Meg (Emma Watson) married, Joe in New York, and Beth (Eliza Scanlen) still sick at home.


 The scenes are filmed with a cold, gray filter, which demonstrate the harshness of their adulthood, and just as the audience begins to worry the whole film will be shown this way, we are brought back to their childhood as Joe and Meg prepare to go to the party where they will meet Laurie (Timothee Chalamet). 


The scenes of their childhood are filmed with a warm, golden glow that embodies the love and happiness of the sisters’ adolescence. Gerwig captures what it is to be young by creating an orchestra of sound and chaos whenever the March sisters are together and brings the books familiar dialogue to life as the sister’s lines overlap and are said in the midst of a wrestling match or between fits of laughter. And the sister’s emotional closeness is demonstrated as they walk arm and arm wherever they go. 


Yet, this film does more than portray the joys of youth; as the film alternates between childhood and adulthood, the audience is able to delve deeper into the relationship between Amy and Laurie. Whereas, in previous adaptations Amy was portrayed as a vain (slightly annoying) character who disappears to Europe for a few months only to return married to Laurie.


This film portrays Amy in childhood as a sister would see her, as an enthusiastic, passionate girl who is to be loved for her flaws. And, in adulthood, the audience gets to see Amy in Paris where we see her mature into a woman. The film also takes careful time to explore how the relationship between Laurie and Amie blooms, and this love story is one that fans will be in awe of.


In addition to the new relationship development between Laurie and Amy, this new adaptation addresses the long standing speculation the Louisa May Alcott had originally intended for Joe to never be married, and had been pushed into writing a new end to Little Woman wherein Joe would be married to help the novel sell. This new ending is creative and brilliant; it manages to address these issues while still giving Joe her storybook ending.


And no review would be complete without addressing Beth’s story in Little Woman. While Amy, Joe, and Meg’s stories made the audience laugh, it is Beth’s story that had the entire theater sobbing, whether it be her beautifully innocent bond with Laurie’s grandfather, Mr. Lawrence or her speech encouraging Joe to pursue her writing passion, the audience falls in love with Beth and it makes it all the more heartbreaking as her final days approach. 


Unlike some, I was excited for the release of this film, but as I went to see it in theaters even my expectations were surpassed. I smiled harder and cried more during this adaptation than I have with any previous, and it is a perfect heart-warming movie to cozy up and watch with a loved one.