Little Women: A new classic masterpiece

Greta Gerwig ends the decade with a powerful film based off a literary sensation


Art by Logan Berggren

Director Greta Gerwig releases an adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s book Little Women making it the seventh adaption of the coming of age classic.

Logan Berggren, Features Editor

The classic coming of age story arrives to the big screen adapting Lousia May Alcott’s famous book Little Women. The book came out in the 1860s and is loosely based on Alcott’s life with her three sisters. The film is directed by the fabulous director Gerwig, and was recently nominated for multiple academy awards such as best picture for Little Women. The movie has a star filled cast that brings each character to life as wells as creating a strong female empowerment message even in the 19th century.

The story follows four sisters– Meg, Jo, Amy and Beth — as they move on from their childhood and into adulthood. The movie focuses on Jo, played by Saoirse Ronan, as she moves to New York City to fulfill her dream of becoming an author. The movie takes place during the Civil War era where their dad is fighting for the Union and the sisters are left with their mother. The movie switches between the past of when the sisters were together and seven years later in the present when the sisters have transition into their adult life. Each sister is different as the story depicts their relationship with one another. Meg, played by Emma Watson, struggles with her dream of becoming an actress while wanting a family of her own. Amy, played by Florence Pugh, fights to be like her older sisters as well as trying to achieve her goal of becoming an artist. The last sister Beth, played by Eliza Scanlen, is talented with playing the piano and finds the comfort of being unnoticed. Even though each March sister is different and unique, they all find unison in living and caring for each other. As the years pass, the sisters move away and try to live their dreams. Their grandmother, played by Meryl Streep, invites Amy to study art in France. Amy reunites with the sister’s childhood friend, Laurie played by Timothée Chalamet. 

The movie jumps between the past and present interlocking the different stories to make them connected. Even though the movie focuses mainly on Jo, it stills shows the point of view of the other March sisters. Gerwig does a phenomenal job bringing the classic into the modern era. The new adaptation stays true to its origins but allows a contemporary feel. Gerwig comprises a beautiful set for the movie that she uses to her advantage. The aesthetic is very warm when showing the past but very cold when it shows the present. Like some movies when the plot jumps between two different time periods, the story can get jumbled for the viewer; this is not the case for Little Women. Gerwig perfectly separates the two time periods and leaves the viewers to watch the two plots unfold and then come together flawlessly at the end of the film. 

One of the finest parts of the movie is the stellar cast. The connection between the four March sisters is beyond fabulous. The viewers feel as if they are actually sisters living in the 19th century. The talent that all four powerful females bring is unmatched to any other sibling relationship seen on the big screen. The movie also sees Meryl Streep as the grandmother, Laura Dern as the mother and Bob Odenkirk as the father off at war. Of course, viewers cannot forget Timothée Chalamet, the troubled lover of the movie. This cast brings the whole movie together as the final touch to make it one of the most sensational films of 2019. One of my small critiques for the film would be the ending. Throughout the whole film, everything seemed to be going wrong for the sisters but suddenly at the end, everything was too perfect. The March sisters were faced with so many obstacles that when the ending came around, it should not have been as happy as it was. Everything suddenly just came together and worked out for every character.

This coming of age adaption is going to be one watched and remembered for centuries.  Gerwig pushed out a divine movie to end the decade with a bang. The cast and plot together did a wonderful job making the audience feel invested to the film and characters. Not only that, it uses a strong female cast to omit a message of female empowerment. This movie as a whole is a masterpiece.