Little Women (2019) A Review

A wonderful adaption of the source material.  A slightly jarring narrative style, but a joy to watch otherwise and with some truly stunning visuals. 


DIRECTOR:  Greta Gerwig

STARRING:  Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, Timothée Chalamet

SCREENPLAY:  Greta Gerwig, Louisa May Alcott (based on the novel by)

GENRE:  Drama, Romance

RUNTIME:  134 Minutes

★★★★ 3.5 Stars  

I was wary of this one when I initially heard of it’s release. Many adaptions have been attempted of the beloved novel ‘Little Women’ and to be frank. I couldn’t see what another faithful period drama could bring to the story.  I was sure it was just going to be more of the same.  But over time the trailer won me over, and I fell in love with the way the Saoirse Ronan played Jo.  So thankfully, my prediction was only half right.

The March sisters grow up happy in the aftermath of the American Civil War.  Jo longs to be independent and to sell stories to earn her own way in the world. A point of view that was not greatly encouraged for women in those times. She doesn’t wish to marry and shuns any and all suitors who would wish to take her hand.  But when one her sisters falls sick, she is forced to evaluate whether the life she has chosen for herself Is really what she wants.

It is really the cast in this film that breathe new life into the story.  Each of them do a fantastic job in bringing the individual personalities of the girls to life, and Chalamet (of who I am not the biggest fan) does an equally great job here.  I would be surprised if this is the film that propels him onto bigger and better things. 

The look of the film is gorgeous.  There are some shots that just take your breath away.  There are very few complaints I can make about the actual presentation of the film by the direstor.  In my opinion, she has done a great job.  My real issues come in when we look at the story itself.

The film uses a dual timeline to show both the past and present storylines,  And at times I found this to be a little confusing.  Not enough time had past between the two time streams for any of the girls (apart from Florence Pugh) to really look any older. So at times it took a few second to recover from disorientation, and know where about in the time line we were.

And after praising Chalamet’s acing performance, I am afraid I cannot do the same with his characters development.  The source material is not the fault of the filmmaker and I know that.  But his dramatic turn around at the end of the film just seems to good to be true. I have never read the orginal novel myself, so can’t comment on the accuracy of the adaption, but this does seem like a very storybook  ending to me.

I had my issues with this one, but it’s nothing that cannot be overcome and if you are a lover of either the source material or period dramas I imagine there is plenty to love here.

Little Women is Released in the UK on Boxing Day.

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