Movie Review: Little Women

Taron Masi, Online Editor

“Little Women” was originally written by Louisa May Alcott in 1868. This classic novel has endured its popularity through the generations of mothers who have passed down their love of the book to their daughters. The story, following the lives of the March sisters; Meg, Jo, Amy, and Beth, continues to hold a special place in the lives of many women because it highlights the struggles women faced in the late 1800s, most of which can still be felt 140 years later.

Over the years “Little Women” has been made to fit the silver screen countless times, but this year’s Academy Award nominee, whether it be because of the highly talented cast or director Greta Gerwig’s raw style, seems to explode with perfection. 

Saoirse Ronan does a magnificent job of portraying the film’s lead, Jo March, a rebellious writer who narrates the lives of her and her sisters. Florence Pugh, who many moviegoers are unfamiliar with, stole the show with her portrayal of Amy March, the sassy sister who moves to Europe to seek a husband. Fellow star-studded faces included Timothee Chalamet as Laurie, Meryl Streep as Aunt March, Emma Watson as Meg March, Eliza Scanlen as Beth March, and Laura Dern as Mary March.

The film utilizes a narrative that is constantly changing from past to present, allowing the audience to watch the changes that occur in the March sisters lives as they try to make their way in an unkind world. The storyline of the film follows Jo March as if she’s writing a long novel about her life. Originally, the “Little Women” book concludes with Jo abandoning her dreams of becoming a successful writer and gets married to satisfy the role society forced women into since the founding of America. In an interesting and up-to-date twist, Greta Gerwig decided to alter the ending. Instead, Jo chooses to marry and also sells her book about her life to a publishing company, launching her to become the great best-selling author she was born to be. This way, Alcott’s creation is respected but Jo is allowed the ending she always deserved. 

At its core, “Little Women” is about the American dream and the extra barriers women have to cross in order to achieve it. In 1868, it gave women a long-awaited voice. In 2019, women are still struggling to have their voices heard. The message behind this 2019 “Little Women” film is hope; hope in the progress that is still to come for more young girls to grow up in a world where they, like Jo, can pave their own path.