#REVIEW: “LITTLE WOMEN”
By Mr. Will Wong
Set after the Civil War, Greta Gerwig‘s Little Women follows the story of the March sisters and the challenges they face to survive its aftermath while the patriarch of the family is off at war. The story centers on Jo (Saoirse Ronan), an aspiring young Writer whom after many attempts, fails to complete her first novel.
The timeline flips between current and her younger years, a happier time with her sisters, Meg (Emma Watson) who is concerned with her appearances, the headstrong and sometimes jealous Amy (Florence Pugh) and mild-mannered Beth (Eliza Scanlen). Enter in the picture, a young heir named Lawrence (Timothée Chalamet) whom Jo and Amy both share feelings for and what we get is a bittersweet coming of age story exploring the end of childhood and what it means for these four young women. Ultimately, what we get is Jo’s story story becomes the she story writes, as we flip between fictional and real versions of herself.
A defiant Jo faces an uphill battle, getting inspiration for her Novel in her own struggles and experiences, trying to secure a publishing deal for her book at a time where a woman’s worth and purpose is based on her getting wed and the ending of a book had to result in a woman getting married. Ultimately, what we get is Jo’s story, which becomes the story she writes, as we flip between the fictional and real versions of herself.
Gerwig adapts a story known well and a gives it her own warm flare. Blessed by an Ensemble rich in talent, this sophomore directorial effort succeeds on the weight of her muse Ronan, who once again delivers a tremendous performance. That same magic Gerwig and Ronan were able to produce in Lady Bird is here as well. We explore again the pain and humour of navigating that sweet spot in our lives when we are just about to become who we are meant to be. Pugh takes Amy, who often acts and speaks on impulse and develops her in a way where we should feel disdain towards her, but we don’t and this purely is the magic of her performance. In fact, we can’t forget Amy.
There are many affecting moments that tug on the heartstrings and are tear-inducing late in the Film. Like Jo, the story and its characters find themselves. Gerwig delivers compelling storytelling and recognizes that while no family is without their own dramas, the bond between a mother, daughters and sisters is unbreakable.
Gerwig tells Little Women in a way that feels now, in a language that isn’t overly flowery. It recognizes the age-old lesson that life is cruel and in this we find humility. Eagerly-awaited and well worth the wait.
Sony Pictures Canada release LITTLE WOMEN Christmas Day.