Little Women feels like coming home

The values of home and happiness are timeless. The newly released movie “Little Women,” adapted from Louisa May Alcott’s novel by Greta Gerwig and nominated for six Oscars, beautifully encompasses both feelings and brings a modern touch to a classic story about four young women in the 19th century.

The film opens with a negotiation between Jo March, an aspiring writer, and a local publishing office as she attempts to get her short stories in the newspaper. Told by the editor, Mr. Dashwood, played by Tracy Letts, that if she is to feature a female protagonist, she must either get married or die, the frustration that March feels represents the pressure of women of that era to find a husband or be worthless in society. 

“Little Women” artfully conveys the struggles of women like March and their quiet combat against severely sexist standards. Jo even insists that she never wants to concede to society’s expectations of women by getting married. However, she is soon caught in a complicated love triangle between a close friend, Laurie, played by Timothee Chalamet, and a sibling. Convinced that she and Laurie would never work out, she rejects him, who in turn falls in love with her sister, Amy. 

All these feelings eventually culminate in Jo’s passionate speech: “I’m so sick of people saying that love is just all a woman is fit for… But I’m so, so lonely.” Her internal conflict of wanting love, but feeling the need to stay uncommitted in rebellion to the patriarchy, make for a character flush with development and relevant to women both of today and Alcott’s time. This central storyline of the original is talently adapted, well-written, and gives lots of depth to multiple characters.

Director and screenplay writer Greta Gerwig parallels the present with flashback scenes from the past in order to take her audience on a journey throughout each sister’s path and twine them all together. The elements of flashbacks were used throughout the film, the past utilizing a warm color scheme and the present a colder color scheme, was effective in creating a complex plot that describes the sisters’ lives growing up, as well as in their present lives. An effective addition to the film, the actions and emotions of the family before and after the occurrence of certain significant events were conveyed side-by-side.

The playful bickering between the March sisters, Jo, Beth, Amy and Meg, played by Saoirse Ronan, Eliza Scanlen, Florence Pugh and Emma Watson respectively, develops the relationship between the sisters and their mother, Marmy, played by Laura Dern. The beginning of the movie immediately draws the audience in, allowing the reader to feel “at home” with the realism of how the family interacts with each other.

“Little Women” presented an intriguing story due to how deep the family’s dynamics were throughout the movie. The movie showed the audience the internal clashes that occurred in the March family over money and love. We loved this aspect because it opened our eyes to the same struggles that could be occurring present day within our own communities.

We loved being able to watch the characters grow as individuals as they got older. After experiencing heartbreak and a family loss, we had to hold back our tears because the family had gone through so much together. The ending illustrated the unity and family bond that kept the sisters together throughout each event, and we were overall overjoyed and satisfied with the film.

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