Little Women Movie Review

Hailey Jones, Southworld co-editor

First published in 1868, Louisa May Alcott’s novel “Little Women” follows the lives of four sisters, a mother, and the boy next door as they take on the obstacles of living in Massachusetts during the Civil War. The classic tale once again turns into a motion picture directed by Greta Gerwig, telling the full story of these “Little Women” and friends both beautifully and efficiently in just 135 minutes. Flashbacks of the sisters during the war and then to present day help deliver the story of the youngest sister, Beth, and her sudden illness that brings the other three independent sisters back together. It’s a movie of sisterly love that everyone can appreciate.

Second oldest daughter Jo March (played by Saorise Ronan) – both genuine and daring, as well as a writer and a tom-boy – defies the stereotypes of being a lady, stating how she doesn’t want to get married. Writing and taking care of her mother and sisters are her only hobbies. She hates being constricted and tied down to the household, expected to do her womanly chores. Jo wants to fight in the war and help out her father in battle; she doesn’t want to sit at home playing dress up or wearing fancy ball gowns like other girls. While out on the town, Jo meets a boy, Theodore Laurence (played by Timothée Chalamet), who goes by ‘Laurie.’ Jo and Laurie instantly become best friends, spending every day together goofing off; however, Laurie wants more than just a friendship, and Jo wants to just focus on her writing and family. After the war, Jo moves to New York; she works as a school teacher and a full-time writer, hoping to publish a novel in the future. Over time, though, Beth’s illness brings Jo back to Massachusetts, noticing Laurie’s absence from town.

Youngest daughter Amy (played by Florence Pugh) – charismatic, prim and proper, artistic, and a tactful manipulator – exhibits the “perfect granddaughter” nature and the only hope for a successful marriage according to Aunt March, a rich lady who believes that a girl must marry rich to live a full life. Amy constantly feels inferior to her sisters Jo and Meg, for these two are old enough to enjoy festive parties with others in town. Flash-forward to post-war life with Amy and Aunt March living in Paris for a few months. This allows Amy to really grow her art skills and find a smart and rich boy to marry. She meets up with Laurie out of coincidence, and Amy realizes her longing feelings she still has for her childhood crush, Laurie; however, Laurie still seems to not know exactly how he feels about Jo turning down his proposal, and Jo doesn’t know that Laurie went to Paris…to randomly meet up with Amy.

Oldest daughter Meg (played by Emma Watson) – a charming, loving, and motherly-figure to her sisters when their mother is away – radiates classiness and wants nothing more than to please her sisters and have them recognize how lucky they are to have each other. She helps the girls with life and gives them advice. She longs for love and satisfaction; especially from a man. Ironically, her greed for love and happiness creates exceeding difficulties. This produces struggles for her during the war and even after the war when the sisters come together. Meg must overcome these struggles for a common happiness between her, her family, and a man who Aunt March doesn’t approve of for Meg…financially.

Second to youngest sister Beth (played by Eliza Scanlen) – the glue that holds the family together – shows her gentle, sweet, and caring character to everyone, especially through her music on the piano. She grew up watching Amy faun over boys and fantasize about being a rich artist, watching Meg work tirelessly to keep a calm household while still trying to have a fun and positive life, and watching Jo work her way up into becoming a thriving writer. Quietness and her loyalty to the piano and family exist as Beth’s best attributes; besides her sisters, her best friend is the piano. When Beth becomes sick during the war, her sisters work nonstop to make her feel better – especially Jo, who stays by her side every day and reads to Beth. But even after the end of the war and all the girls (except Beth) have moved on with their lives, Beth gets worse and her sisters are needed to nurse her back to health. Obstacles, however, once again occur for the March family.

All in all, “Little Women” exists as a perfect movie for friends, couples, and families to see. Its mellow, calming, and sometimes anxious soundtrack puts viewers in a state of happiness, enjoyment, and an eager mindset. It’s been nominated for six Academy Awards, five British Academy Film Awards, two Golden Globes, and many more independent awards including costume design, music, and multiple best actresses (in particular for Saoirse Ronan). Seeing the film in a theater really captures the moment of the movie and adds to the emotions that formulate within the plot. The direction of Greta Gerwig and the rest of the film and production crew portrays the talent of these creators throughout the storyline. Getting the full experience on the big screen, with popcorn in one hand and Coke in the other hand, proves essential for a full experience of the four sisters’ lives and journeys. Spending $10 on a movie ticket may seem pricey at the time, but once the closing credits pop up, signaling the end of the 135 minute life-changer, the effects of the characters and the memories shared with the people in the theater are not soon forgotten.