Little Women (2019)

Greta Gerwig directs Saoirse Ronan, Florence Pugh and Emma Watson in this modern adaptation of the classic novel about four sisters growing up in Civil War Massachusetts.

I must have read a babyfied abridged version of Louisa May Alcott’s classic as a child. The adored story’s turns and moments are so familiar to me and they felt familiar back during the Winona Ryder adaptation in the 1990s. This approaches that over squeezed text with energy and verve. Equal parts reverential and inventive. Boring, dated and overplayed elements are shuffled around and diminished or refashioned. It says a lot about Greta Gerwig the director that you knew what her intentions, strengths, worldview and personality were straight off the bat during Lady Bird. That she felt like the directorial real deal in her debut. A fully formed auteur. The fact she has taken a dusty, twee yet cherished text like Little Women and breathed the same kind pump into it without adulterating the original source is fine testament to her cinematic talents. Long may she continue to partner up with impeccable Saoirse and perfect Tracy Letts. A few winsome stars aside, I loved how all the cast were deployed. The sequence where a book comes to life (intentional ironies) is wondrous. The minor melodrama of the March’s aren’t my traditional choice of tale yet Gerwig ensnared me into their dreams and tribulations as much as this old grouch could ever be entangled. More than I expected. Just because it isn’t my kinda movie, doesn’t mean it ain’t a good’ un.

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