Little Women (2019).
Here’s my history with Little Women: Nada. I’ve never read the book and haven’t seen any of the many films and miniseries that have been made. I had no idea what I was getting into, while many of you might know what’s coming a mile away. For me, this was a fresh and new experience. What did I think?
We follow four sisters, in the aftermath of the Civil War in the United States. Their father is away, so their mother (Laura Dern) and grandmother (Meryl Streep) take care of them mostly. Jo (Saoirse Ronan) wants to be an author, so spends her time writing and rewriting short stories to sell to local newspapers. She doesn’t see herself marrying, though a boy named Laurie (Timothee Chalamet) has become quite fond of her. Meg (Emma Watson) is the oldest and wants a more traditional life, so she seeks a husband. Amy (Florence Pugh) wants to become an artist, so spends time in France learning to paint, though finds that it is difficult for a woman to earn her own income in this world. The youngest daughter Beth (Eliza Scanlen) is a piano prodigy but finds herself too shy to really perform.
This movie is absolutely incredible. I didn’t think this movie would hit every note for me, but it definitely did.
Let’s talk performances. Saoirse Ronan continues to prove that she’s a powerhouse, again reuniting with director Greta Gerwig (after Lady Bird). But you know who really surprised me? Florence Pugh (Fighting with My Family, Midsommar) did an incredible job here, especially in her dynamics with Saoirse’s character. These two had an incredible love and hate chemistry that you couldn’t peel your eyes away from.
I also really appreciated Timothee Chalamet here. I’ve only seen him in intense dramas like Beautiful Boy, so it was quite a 180 to see him so lively and carefree here, providing some of the movie’s best comedic moments. Him and Saoirse shared some intense sequences together and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a supporting actor nod for him come Oscar season, in addition to several of the women from the cast to be sure.
Something I don’t usually comment on but I really appreciated here: the tone and warmth of the cinematography. There are multiple timelines here and the past was always lush and vibrant, with lots of reds and earth tones. Then it’d cut to the ‘present’ of the film and it’d be a pale bluish hue. Beautifully done and helped us, as an audience, keep track of this timeline.
And since I didn’t know anything about this classic tale, it was a roller coaster. The film was suspenseful, charming, hilarious, heartbreaking, and more. It was a perfect combination and resulted in undoubtedly one of my favorite films of 2019.
What doesn’t work?
Absolutely nothing, this is an incredible film. It may not be for everyone, but if you’re on the fence, this is a very solid pick.
I’m a convert. Is there a Little Women fanpage I can join? A Facebook group? I’m still thinking about this movie and how much it impacted me. I cried out of happiness, I cried out of sadness, I laughed many times, I was completely invested in this film and I want you to feel the same. Head to the theaters now and reward good behavior.