A one-hundred-and-fifty-year-old novel has been put into the hands of writer and director, Greta Gerwig to adapt masterfully into the 21st century, but does something of that era hold power to resonate with the present day? Does it still hold valid to connect to a broader audience?
Little Women follows four young women on their journey into adulthood in the late 1800s in Massachusetts. Jo Marsh (Saoirse Ronan), an aspiring writer is working her way up to the top within publishing, grafting away while her sisters are pursuing their dreams of becoming an actress, an artist and a pianist. When the pressures of adulthood start coming their way; however, marrying into wealth comes to the forefront and dreams of becoming successful in their fields are swept to one side.
L.M. Alcott’s novel, Little Women, was clearly way ahead of its times. The powerful message that is scripted throughout this 150-year-old novel has been incredibly adapted by Greta Gerwig to give women of today a message to carry throughout their lives. A note of the success that not all women should be confined to just love and marriage, that women can pursue their dreams, no matter how many times they fail. My favourite scene, without revealing too many spoilers, was when Ronan’s character, Jo March, goes in slowly on the acknowledgement of the commercial pressure to marry off a fictional female character, arguing an alternative ending to what is typically conventional. It was a message of power that every woman will take away from this.
Being the only man in the cinema during the film, I was sat there feeling the emotions of each individual character and the lives they were portraying. I was invested from start to finish; I laughed, I smiled, I shed a single tear, just the one I’ll have, you know. It’s a movie of great detail, artistry and perfectionism that it’s impossible to dislike.
A special mention has to go to the casting. Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, Timothy Chalamet, Meryl Streep, the list is quite a significant engine that powers the narrative. Timothy Chalamet is the secret weapon to the drama, giving the story depth and keeping you connected throughout. Meryl Streep brings in her experience to hold together the youthful cast. Emma Watson, Florence Pugh and Eliza Scanlen all aid Saoirse Ronan to brilliance and to showcase their incredible like-ability as a group of fun-loving girls.
There is no doubt that Greta Gerwig spotted the potential behind the writings of Alcott. The talent within her has seen her in the past masterfully direct Saoirse Ronan in Lady Bird, unfortunately not to any success to win academy awards, but nominated. The partnership between director and actress is on an incredible level to see her, once again, smash a part out-of-the-park to win over the hearts of young women around the world.
Speaking of the academy awards, each year is dominated by a political headline surrounding it. Last year, Green Book had controversy behind it considering the story was adapted by a considered racist with anti-muslim tweets to his name, historical matters were manipulated and false and whether the film entirely depicts a true story.
This year has the feeling that women will be at the forefront, and deservedly so. Hopefully, for more positive matters than what was previously written. If this film is anything to go by, it shows to class, attention-to-detail and creative brilliance from Greta Gerwig. She may not have won best director for Lady Bird in 2018, but I think this year will see her become only the second woman to win the award. Let’s see what the academy awards throw at us this year.
What a great film to start the 2020 reviewing! Onto the next one…