A Review of Little Women

The film adaptation of a classic story arrived in theaters recently, and has been well received by fans


photo from Google Images

Kendel Barber, Co-Editor-in-Chief

Little Woman, directed by Greta Gerwig, is the film adaption of the classic 1868 novel by Louisa May Alcott. It follows the story of the four March sisters throughout their childhood and into adulthood, showing the ups and downs that life offers. The sisters encounter the typical struggles of a somewhat poor family living through the Civil War, while their father is away fighting. They face the challenges and delights of romance, family, and finding their true character as young women. 

The film boasts an impressive cast, starring Saoirse Ronan as Jo March, Emma Watson as Meg March, Meryl Streep as Aunt March, and Timothee Chalamet as Laurie. This cast of award-winning actors perfectly showcases Gerwig’s interpretation of the story and does a great job of portraying their character’s story. I was especially fascinated by Saoirse Ronan, who took on the role of the protagonist Jo March, as well as the writer of the book Little Women within the movie. This addition storyline in the film captured Lousia May Alcott’s struggle when it came to the writing and publishing of the autobiography of her family.

While Gerwig kept the film mostly true to the novel, she added some modern elements to make it more enjoyable for today’s audiences. While religion played a larger role in the March family life in Alcott’s novel, this element was completely left out of the film, so the secular storyline became more relatable to a wider audience. 

Additionally, while Alcott’s novel was told chronologically, starting during the girl’s childhood, the movie starts with Jo as a young woman and moves between childhood and adulthood for the girls. I knew about this aspect before I watched the movie, so I was able to follow along and put the pieces of the story together for myself, but this method of storytelling can be very confusing if the viewer is not expecting it. The main way for the viewer to tell when the scene takes place is the tone of the cinematography, whether it is a cooler or warmer tone from the camera, which can easily be missed. While this element was slightly confusing, I admire the significance that the flashbacks and memories of Jo have, as Gerwig was able to tell the same story in a more meaningful way. 

All of the main roles showed impressive character development. Amy March, played by Florence Pugh, starts out as the main antagonist to her older sister Jo March, and is portrayed as the annoying, spoiled little sister. Gerwig encapsulates Amy’s strong inner spirit, and by the end of the film she has become intelligent, strong-willed, and independent, despite her constant struggle of feeling like a lesser version of her sister. All of the sisters have their distinct flaws, but the course of the story allows them all to mature, and their personalities made them into lovable characters that can all be equally enjoyed for their more favorable qualities. 

Gerwig did an excellent job of incorporating important themes into the film, especially the status of women during the time period. Characters Jo and Amy express their exasperation of marriage being the only way for a woman to succeed in life at the time, and how it ended up mostly being a stifling economic proposition for women. Both find their independence throughout the story, showing Gerwig’s intentions of portraying feminism and gender roles during the time in a way that is relevant to present viewers. 

I would highly recommend Little Women, whether or not you have already read the classic novel. It tells an interesting, feel good story, with humorous elements, devastating losses, and joyous happily-ever afters that will make you laugh, cry, and smile all within one movie. The March sisters are relatable and admirable, and Greta Gerwig’s directing style turns this classic story into a cinematic masterpiece that will capture your emotions from the opening scene to the credits.