Little Women (2019), Does It Measure Up?


Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, available to check out in the library

Sophia Prichard, Editor

Little Women (2019) written and directed by Greta Gerwig has been making a splash in theaters with a new spin on the classic story by Louisa May Alcott. I saw it recently and it proved to be a beautiful piece of cinema. Its cast included Timothée Chalamet and Saoirse Ronan, who starred in Lady Bird (2017) also written and directed by Greta Gerwig.  Ronan played the protagonist Jo March, a role previously occupied by Winona Ryder, who has dreams of becoming a writer in Civil War-era New York. Chalamet played the heartthrob Laurie, previously played by Christian Bale (American Psycho, Vice). While the 1994 version has a nostalgic feeling for me and many others, the major differences for me start with the character Amy March.

Amy March, played by Florence Pugh (Midsommar), is the sister of Jo and has dreams of becoming an artist. In the 1994 version of the film, in which she was played by Kirsten Dunst, I found her character to be whiny and annoying, which proves that many lines can have a different meaning through a change of tone. Pugh gives each line an air of sarcasm so light that it almost seems as if she means what she is saying, but it’s still significant enough that you know she doesn’t mean every comment she makes. During a certain scene, Gerwig adds a small monologue about how Amy feels as if she is “second best” to Jo. This made her character much more human, to the point where I can confidently say Amy seems blunt and honest. Amy has a magnificent drive and grounding. She knows the reality that she might have to marry for money and not love, something Jo doesn’t understand as well.

Little Women (2019) has also done fabulously at the box office, with a budget of $40 million but a current gross of $131.9 million, which is more than double the budget. The film has also been nominated for six Oscars alongside Parasite, Marriage Story, Once Upon A Time In Hollywood and Jojo Rabbit in categories such as costume design, original score, best motion picture, and screenplay.