Little Women (2019) REVIEW – A Heartwarming Holiday Literary Adaptation

The timeless classic by Louisa May Alcott has been renovated time and again, but director Greta Gerwin stamps her signature style onto the most recent remake of time-honored novel reestablished for cinema. 

Little Women taps into the daily life of the four March sisters, Jo (Saoirse Ronan), Meg (Emma Watson), Amy (Florence Pugh), and Beth (Eliza Scanlen) as they come of age in post-Civil War America. As the March sisters grow together, they learn together and face the exciting, challenging, and frustrating reality of being a woman as they are expected to either marry rich or become rich themselves, together. All the while learning to become the most “ideal” woman, their long-time friend, Theodore ‘Laurie’ Laurence (Timothee Chalamet) is swept up in their whirlwind and decides to hold on for the ride.

Visually, Little Women is strikingly gorgeous with glimmering cinematography that hands the reins to a remarkably artistic, stunning approach to each shot. Proceeding elegantly, the catch to the eye is brisk, popping with alluring camerawork and teeming with color schemes that benefit when they contrast, not clash. Gerwig’s trademark is scrawled across in a stylish, modern, simplistic technique.

 Exuding unapologetic, unstoppable charm, the latest remodel of the long-time franchise is a delight. It indulges in small savory dashes of fun, priding itself on being comedically pinpointed and emotionally intelligent. Little Women is comprised of tender moments, sisterly quarrels, and heartfelt relationships. The consanguinity swells and the family connection bond is strong as stone. A high-achieving cast plays well with one another, but Chalamet seems to underperform as Laurie as he can’t seem to meet his reputation. 

 The groundwork is there, but the framing of the film falters on how well it can uphold the ping-pong and disorganized back-and-forth between the March sisters’ past and present. The difference between flashbacks and current time are difficult to distinguish from one another. The ongoing stories crashing into one another has a halfway flow but needs a stronger push yet to stitch them together. It jumps around from point to point, the purpose is there, but it’s undercooked in some measure. 

Character is built into the film, but more into the characters to a greater extend. The trickle-down of heartbreak falls into place as heartbreak swap places with heartened joys. The March sisters take their hardships with a set jaw and determination beading on their brows. The more demanding their lives become, the more sacrifices they make, the more they learn that life isn’t all that they anticipated it to be, especially come Christmastime with their father away during the war.

Little Women hold captive the warmth and spirit of the holidays. It embraces the feeling of being welcomed back by an old friend and encircles the universal feeling the excitement and comfort that comes with Christmas. The festivities and cheer are abundant as yuletide is wreathed around the film. Female writers rejoice; the film’s opening and the closing celebrate Jo’s jump into the literary world as an unwavering force brimming with staunch grit, bringing the film around to a full-circle wrap. Shaking its somberness, the take on the classic tale hauls itself to the end with an uplifting, cheerful, emotional upsweep with a debatable fate set for Jo. 

Verdict: 8.5/10 – Little Women is a romantic, dignified, heart-aching, delicate and emotive interpretation of a timeless and beloved classic. It houses its inconsistencies and tweaks, but when putting its weaker points to the side, it remains to be lovely as a whole. 

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