This 2019 film directed and adapted from the classic novel by Greta Gerwig is wonderfully warm and filled with passion.
While this is not the first adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s classic coming of age story, this one by Greta Gerwig is spirited and wonderfully heartwarming to watch unfold over the course of two hours.
Interestingly, this version of Little Women flits between the past and the present to uncover the individual stories of Jo, Meg, Beth and Amy as well as their relationship as a family – which has plenty of twists and turns along the way. The way in which the film moves between different times can be slightly disorientating (particularly if like me you aren’t familiar with the story), but once it settles down, it becomes a fascinating insight as to why each character makes the decisions about the direction that their lives taken.
Sumptuously filmed, each of the characters have a strong and distinctive personality that are marvellously brought to life thanks to the spirited performances from the cast. In particular, Saoirse Ronan offers a strong performance as Jo – capturing her passion for writing as highlighted by her defensiveness when her friend Friedrich Bhaer criticises her work, but also her love and bond with her family perfectly. Eliza Scanlen as Beth delivers a perfectly understated performance that really works for the compassionate character. There is also great support from Timothée Chalamet as Laurie – who forms the centre of the drama between Amy and Jo, but also highlights just how lost and unfulfilled his character is. Laura Dern as Marmee is simply wonderful and a lovely presence.
The whole film is glorious – each scene filled with genuine warmth and emotion that draws the audience in beautifully. Particularly in the moments of conflict or drama – such as when Laurie proposes to Jo or in the aftermath of Amy destroying Jo’s novel. There is a real sense of the characters and the journey that they embark on – all unveiled in an unconventional order.
Alexandre Desplat’s gorgeously delicate score fits in perfectly into the background without ever overwhelming the story, while Jacqueline Durran’s lavish but well thought out costumes are also glorious to behold – each one suiting the characters perfectly.
There is no denying that Greta Gerwig’s adaptation of this beloved story is a loving tribute to the original story – it is a wonderful way for those who haven’t read the book in a while to rediscover it or for new audiences to then go and seek out the book.
By Emma Clarendon
Little Women is available to buy now.