Little Women: The March Sisters Return

jo march in little women

Little Women

Directed By: Greta Gerwig

I was really excited to check out this latest adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s book about the March sisters. It’s a beloved story and I think if you know and love the story you’ll enjoy the movie (I did.)

The movie is coming with a lot of hype (All Gerwig needs to do is be associated with a movie and it’s over-hyped) and some awards controversy already.

Mainly that men aren’t seeing screenings of the film.

But I’ll come back to awards stuff.

beautiful shots in little women

Little Women stays true to the story of the four poor March sisters whose mother is struggling to keep afloat while their father is off fighting a war. Jo (Saoirse Ronan) longs to be a writer and have more than what society deems fit for woman. Meg (Emma Watson) indulges her sister somewhat but wants to marry. Amy (Florence Pugh) wants to be a great artist but is considered the only hope in her family for catching a rich man and Beth (Eliza Scanlen) well she just wants to be with her sisters and play the piano.

Enter next door neighbor Laurie (Timothée Chalamet) and everything begins to change.

There’s some beautiful stuff in the film. The four actresses work very well together and seem to be having so much fun you can see why Laurie is taken with the family. I want to be their sister to.

Emma Watson as Meg in Little Women

I also think the script is really good at dealing with certain issues mainly marriage having to be an economic proposition for all women regardless of status really well. It doesn’t come off as preachy in those regards. The conversation between Jo and Meg that was alluded to in the trailers where Meg points out that her dreams are just as valid even though they go against Jo’s is one of my favorites. As is Amy’s conversation with Lori about talent vs. greatness and choosing who you love.

Eliza Scanlan as Beth

But the movie is also told through flashbacks- the main crux of the story taking place 7 years from the characters present which presents one of the big problems for me.

I love Florence and she’s great in this performance wise but for me she just isn’t pulling off 12 or 13 I don’t care how many braids you put in her hair. The biggest problems is the voice. Which threw off a lot of those big scenes like her burning the manuscript, crying outside Laurie window and chasing them onto the ice.

Florence Pugh as Amy in Little Women

In fact until the “current” parts when they straight out say she’s 20 I just assumed they had aged everyone up but no- she was supposed to be 12 or 13 in the flashbacks and hey, it could be me but I just couldn’t shut off my brain and buy that one. Like in the scene when she falls through the ice- I just wanted to be like calm down girl cause you are perfectly capable of pulling yourself out.

I’ve never been big on overly saintly characters so wasn’t particularly fond of Marmie (Laura Dern) here. A lot of the family stuff goes by at such breakneck speed you feel the act. And she just rubbed me the wrong way. I liked Dern better as the divorce lawyer in Marriage Story.

For as much as I like the film it does somewhat lack the spark and the magic of the 94 version. Maybe because that was my Little Women? I can’t quiet put my finger on it.

As to the awards “controversy” I obviously think everyone should see the films in contention!(And hey I would gladly do so if I could join the Academy!) That being said there’s a social media/critics push for Gerwig regardless of whether the film actually deserves it. If Little Women pulls in a ton of nominations I won’t be upset. It’s a good film but it’s an average film with a lovely, timeless story and nice message and far better stuff is likely going to be overlooked (not the least of which is Pugh’s performance in Mid-Sommar) so I won’t be upset if doesn’t doesn’t get a lot of awards love either.

Recommend: Yes. 

If you love the book and the March sisters- but you can also easily wait for it to hit streaming.




13 thoughts on “Little Women: The March Sisters Return

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  1. This movie had been on my wish list since I watched the trailer months ago but now I am a bit skeptical about watching it after reading your experience and also because of the hype. But I am going to watch it anyway because I loved the book and I love Emma Watson.

  2. oh man, Florence sounds like a much older woman so her playing a 12 year old….must be interesting 🙂 I really look forward to it, though, it looks like the acting is just wonderful

  3. Honestly, if this ends up winning Picture of the Year, I wouldn’t be upset at all. It’s not the best film I’ve seen this year, but it is a major improvement over Lady Bird, which I still don’t get why it was so universally adored (to the point where people went after the first critic who gave it a negative review). I really thought its framing device was interesting with Alcott pitching the story to the publisher only for the narrative to flash back seven years into the story in question.

    1. Yeah, I do think mostly critics have been more reasonable this time. I actually think Gerwig is a good director, I like her scripts better but still. I don’t think it helps when the vast majority of critics make it seem like she could film two hours of dirt and they’d still expect her to get award nominations 😉

      I did actually like the framing device I just think some of young Amy’s scenes took me out of it a bit. I adore Florence but it felt weird at times. Just me though!

  4. Oh no, I love saintly characters! Marmie’s transition from basically Jo to “saintliness” was a trajectory I could get behind, and I find it realistic and personally relatable. I haven’t watched it yet, but I’m chuckling at the “you could have pulled yourself out”, there was no harm in a younger actress playing the role. Kirsten Dunst’s Amy was just so perfect though. I think Little Women (93) was one of the few classic films that I watched with my sister and she actually enjoyed, so it’ll be hard to top it. I will eventually watch, but I’m watching for Amy this time around.

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