[REVIEW] Little Women (2019)

I’d rather be a free spinster and paddle my own canoe

Jo March

Little Women is one of those classics that everyone talk about and yet it was one that I know nothing about until Greta Gerwig’s film came along in 2019. Featuring an impressive line-up of cast including Emma Watson, Saorise Ronan, Timothée Chalamet , Meryl Streep and Laura Dern, this film adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s novel peeks into the lives of four sisters during the American Civil War period and their charming good-hearted boy-next-door.

THE FOUR SISTERS

They say that even identical twins can differ in personalities and in the March house, the four daughters truly march to their own beat. The oldest sister, Meg (played by Emma Watson), longs to get married to a man and have a family. She is a little materialistic, enjoys dressing up in long dresses and basically looking beautiful (not that there is anything wrong with that). But Meg knows her limits, understands that her husband is unable to afford premium cloth and sells it away. After all, she is that understanding, mature and loving sister who takes on the responsibilities of a mother for her three siblings, especially the quiet and frail Beth (played by Eliza Scanlen) when their mother, Marmee (played by Laura Dern), is away.

The main character is a free-spirited ambitious young lady, Jo March (played by Saoirse Ronan), and she is an avid reader and she yearns for the day where she can publish her own novel. Jo is said to be loosely based on the author Louisa May Alcott herself. Timothée Chalamet’s character, Theodore “Laurie”, is attracted to Jo and throughout the movie, we do see many fun moments of these two. Unexpectedly, this pair did not end up together at all; Laurie married the youngest sister, Amy.

Now Amy is a foil to Jo’s. She is more materialistic than Meg and does not hide about it. The youngest sibling, she does come off as a spoilt girl at times who yearns to marry into a rich family for a better life. Having said that, this is an unsurprising outcome considering the closeness she has with her Aunt (played by Meryl Streep) who plays a considerable role in shaping Amy’s beliefs and values.

No one makes their own way, not really, least of all a woman. You’ll need to marry well.

Aunt March

Wow, just wow.

SIMPLE PLOT, GREAT INFLUENCE

What I liked about the film is that it embodies love, not just romantic love but the love for one’s family and one’s dreams. Meg and John’s marriage inspires us to love each other even economic circumstances prove it hard. The family’s love for their Beth continues even after her passing. And the most evident one being Jo’s love for her dreams and passions. She is a brave woman and once she sets her mind on something, she is resolute in accomplishing it to the best of her abilities. I would, only, praise her as an ideal hardworking, passionate and driven woman that people should model after to a certain extent. Her belief that marriage is nothing more than an economic preposition dissuades her from choosing a life similar to Meg when Laurie proposed. While as we later see a Jo regretting this decision, we see that she has also register the idea that marriage should only be between two persons who love each other. It may or may not be an economic preposition but it is guaranteed that the marriage will collapse if the love is not there. So to all the Laurie-Jo shippers, no I believe that this pair would not work simply because Jo does not love Laurie and no two persons should ever marry if they are not in love.

Speaking of which, the idea of marriage being an economic preposition, where women and their possessions are submitted to their husbands, has never been more relevant than in today’s society. While it may not necessarily be with regards to marriage, the idea of women being treated differently from male peers is not new. In fact, the fact that Louisa wrote this book in 1868 is a reflection of how things in society have progressed much.

I wouldn’t go as far to say that Little Women is the film of 2019 but it indisputably is a noteworthy film that should be watched by everyone at least once. It seems to try to prove that there is no trade-off between a marriage and a career, making Little Women a moral boast to all women in 21st century. What I did not enjoy, in spite, is the lack of expansion on Beth’s character. She seems to be a neutral character here, not taking sides on Amy and Jo’s tiny feud and she, like Jo, lives in her own bubble when playing the piano. Wished that Greta Gerwig had shifted her focus a little bit more towards the third sibling.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.