Rating: 4 Star
I read Louisa May Alcott's much loved Little Women and the sequel novels Little Men and Jo's Boys in school. Having seen quite a few film adaptations of the sisterhood narrative, I'd like to say that Greta Gerwig's version is lovely.
The new film remains true to the source which extolled motherhood, familial bonds and social service but Gerwig reinforces Alcott's coming-of-age love story as a feminist text about women’s choices,incorporating the author's own fiercely independent persona into the four March sisters whose loving Marmee ( Laura Dern) held the fort in their Massachusetts home in the absence of their father who served in the American Civil War.
Aptly, evocative period touches embellish the narrative which plays out in non-linear flashbacks culled from memories of the adult Jo ( Saoirse Ronan)
All four sisters are passionately creative.
Meg (Emma Watson) loves theatre, Beth (Eliza Scanlen) plays the piano, Amy (Florence Pugh) is a vain artist and
Josephine better known as Jo (Saoirse Ronan) writes short stories.
Jo is fond ( in a platonic way) of their new neighbour, Laurie (Timothée Chalamet), who insists he's in love with her. However, Gerwig reimagines the "courtship"between Jo and her critic, language Professor Friedrich (Fritz ) Bhaer. (Louis Garrel) Amy and Laurie's growing affection is also given short shrift, but not values like hope, compassion and generosity.
Rich, no nonsense Aunt March ( Meryl Streep) bequeaths her splendid house to Jo who establishes a school. Laurie and his wealthy grandfather (Chris Cooper) are also very generous and considerate.
The rest of the male characters are equally noteworthy: Meg's loving but impoverished husband John Brooke (James Norton), dad March (Bob Odenkirk) and Prof.Bhaer, with his dark good looks, though he's a much younger version of Alcott's original German immigrant who was gruff and stout with grey black hair.
The 19th century was a time when women had few legal rights.In the movie, Jo says she's "sick of being told that love is all a woman is fit for," and Aunt March revels in her spinsterhood. When Jo eventually falls in love with and sets up house with Prof Bhaer, she views marriage as the “sweetest chapter” and herself as the "happiest."
See,the March women were always forthright and independent and that is why we admired them all. Just like we do,this thoroughly modern and feminist retelling.
Cast: Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, Florence Pugh, Meryl Streep, Laura Dern, Timothée Chalamet, Bob Odenkirk,Chris Cooper, James Norton,Louis Garrel,Eliza Scanlen,Tracy LettsDirector & writer: Greta Gerwig