Review Round Up: Little Women

Greta Gerwig directs this new adaptation of the classic story – but what have the critics had to say about it?

Irish Times: *** “It’s a ravishing spectacle. The trouble is that the unremitting gorgeousness robs the material of all its grit, of its satire, of the sense of precariousness that one experiences on the characters’ behalf, of the fear of hunger, and of the dread that any chill or fever might be a death sentence.” 

The Guardian: ***** “This is such a beguiling, generous film from Gerwig. There is a lot of love in it.”

Empire: ***** “Gerwig saves her most impressive narrative flourish for the very end, with a finale that would absolutely delight Louisa May Alcott. It’s a decision that will leave you thinking far more deeply than any other version of this story has managed, and one that instantly makes this the definitive big-screen Little Women.”

Variety: ” In terms of sheer logistics, “Little Women” marks a huge step forward for Gerwig, who shows an aptitude for future studio projects without sacrificing her distinctive directorial voice.”

Vulture: “Alcott’s book may examine womanhood through the narrow spectrum of 19th-century New England gentility, but Gerwig treats the sisters’ diverging paths as a prism through which to look at larger themes of marriage, artistic validity, and financial constraints.”

The Telegraph: **** “It would be near-impossible to love Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women more than Greta Gerwig does. This coming-of-age saga set in 19th-century Massachusetts was the writer-director’s favourite childhood novel, as it has been for generations of girls before her.” 

The Wrap: “Pugh and Chalamet may be the standouts in an impressive cast, but there’s not a single artificial moment from any of the players.” “Ronan is luminous as Jo, volatile and full of lightning-fast reactions.”

Radio Times: “There are already far too many divisions between people. In all honesty, there need only be one: whether or not you believe that Little Women’s Jo March should have ended up with Laurie.”

Entertainment Weekly: “as the narrative settles into its telling, the old magic of the story — and Gerwig’s vibrant, tender-hearted connection to it — take over. The look of the film itself is lovely, nearly every scene gorgeously composed and shot in soft painterly light, and the cast, from Dern’s delicately shaded Marmee to Chalamet’s lovelorn Laurie, uniformly great.” “This luxuriously appointed film, with autumnal-hued cinematography by Yorick Le Saux, a lush score by Alexandre Desplat, and brilliantly detailed costumes by Jacqueline Durran, is a big step up in scale for a writer-director who got her start in the freewheeling world of low-budget indies. Seeing her pull off a grand period drama with such confidence, humor, and style leaves you with a sensation not unlike what Jo March must be feeling in the film’s final scene, as she watches while her first book is printed, sewn, and bound, a tiny smile playing on her lips.”

The Mirror: ***** “Dern is soulful and quietly warm, wise and wonderful, and Streep as a wealthy widow and family authority is an imperious match even Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey might baulk from taking on.”

Time Out: ***** “Suffice it to say, we watch a book coming into existence: signatures bound, the cover stretched. It’s literally building Little Women from the spine up, and that’s exactly what Gerwig has done over the last two hours. She makes it her own—you’ll want to make it yours, too.”

Little Women is released in cinemas on Boxing Day.

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