[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.

[REVIEW ] Best of Mad Men

I decided to compile some of the best scenes, pitches and lines from this drama as I watched it. While I don’t really understand Roger Sterling’s role in the firms, I can’t deny the fact that he is one humorous guy. So here goes, my top favourites (not in any order):

BEST EPISODES

1. “Shut the Door. Have a Seat.” / S3EP13

Come on, you’ve gotta love this episode. It is here where the gang (Don, Bert and Roger) devises a plan to get Sterling Cooper out of the acquisition deal by McCann Erickson and the way of doing so is by requesting Lane Pryce to fire and sever their contracts so that they can set up their new firm.

Turns out this is the beginning of the many changes to the organisational structure and team dynamics for the trio. The start of new possibilities.

Well gentlemen, I supposed you’re fired

Lane Pryce

2. “Red in the Face” S1EP7

In this episode, Pete Campbell just returned from his honeymoon with Trudy and the couple noticed they had two Chip N’ Dip. So, Trudy asks Pete to return the extra one in exchange for cash and oh boy was Pete proud of his Chip N’ Dip.

And later on in this episode, Don made Roger drink lots of alcohol and oysters before pitching to a client. Unsure if he intentionally made the lift to stop but Don and Roger climbed all the way up to Sterling Cooper, causing Roger to puke everything out in front of the clients.

3. “The Grown Ups” / SE312

It is the aftermath of the JFK assassination and granted, America is in shock. But that did not stop the wedding of Margaret Sterling, the daughter of Roger and Mary Sterling. I found this episode particularly interesting because we get to see just how different Pete Campbell responds to the world around him.

4. “Hands and Knees” / S4EP10

It is the one where Don wanted to accompany Sally Draper to the Beatles concert. It was the beginning of the British Invasion.

5. “Blowing Smoke” / S4EP12

Don writes a letter in The New York times blasting tobacco companies when Lucky Strike ended their contract in “The Chinese Wall” / S4EP11. You’ve got to give Don some credit for taking a bold move out there.

6. “Nixon vs. Kennedy/S1EP12

The team volunteered their services to promote Richard Nixon’s 1960 Presidential elections campaign in hopes of getting more publicity. But unexpectedly, Nixon suffered a defeat that year. , After Pete Campbell let out the secrets of Don Draper when the latter made Duck Phillips Head of Accounts, we finally catch a glimpse of Dick Whitman/Don Draper’s identity theft. Interestingly, Don’s own fall runs parallel with Nixon’s too as we later see Nixon giving his congratulatory speech to Kennedy at the end of the episode.

7. “The Suitcase” / S4EP7

This is a rather heartwarming episode as we get to see a strictly friendly and respectful relationship between Peggy and Don.

8. “Tea Leaves” /S5EP3

The third episode of the fifth season was a memorable one. We see Peggy getting belittled by Michael during his job interview; Betty discovered she has a lump in her throat (We later know in season seven it was cancerous); and Don and Henry actually having some fun at the backstage of a Rolling Stones concert.

And hey, this episode was directed by Jon Hamm himself.

9. “The Hobo Code”/ S1EP8

We see a different side of Peggy Olson in this episode as we later see her sleeping with Pete Campbell in the office early in the morning. She is not the innocent secretary as I expected and it was because of this one-time affair did she later get pregnant with Pete’s child.

What makes this episode stands out is the scene in the switchboard room. As a late 90s kid, I have never seen such telecommunications technology before and it was kinda cool.

10. “The Milk and Honey Route” /S7E13

The saddest part of the whole Mad Men isn’t even when the team part their own ways following their brief stay at McCann Erickson. It is, however, when Betty writes her farewell letter to Sally with instructions on how her funeral should be. I have to admit that I love Betty’s stubborn and fearless personality here when she rejected any sorts of therapy while continuing her studies in Master’s Degree in Psychology.

BEST PITCHES

1. Burger Chef / S7E6

The last shot at Burger Chef really portrayed the working dynamics between Pete, Don and Peggy. Pete has grown to be comfortable with himself and no longer feels threatened by Don’s dominating influence in the aura and Don is giving his informal protege Peggy some presentation tips. They aren’t just colleagues but reliable and trustworthy companions who have stuck with one another since the first office re-branding in S3.

2. The Carousel pitch episode / S1E13

Do I need to comment further?

3. Hershey’s Kisses / S6E13

Don fails to secure the account and got himself put on an open-dated leave of absence. Granted it was a dreaded wait for Don as he awaits the green light from the partners of SCDP but this leave helped Don clear up some long-overdue problems.

4. Lucky Strike / S1E1

’nuff said. This is the account that brought the company to its elevated status.

Advertising is based on one thing: happiness.

Don Draper

5. Belle Jolie / S1EP6

A basket of kisses that brings out the creative potential in Peggy Olson.

FUNNIEST LINES (MOSTLY BY ROGER STERLING)

S4E12

ROGER STERLING: Well I’ve gotta go learn a bunch of people’s names before I fire them

S4E13

DONALD DRAPER : Miss Calvet and I are getting married.

ROGER STERLING: Who the hell is that?

S1E7

BERT COOPER: Stop smoking so much. It’s a sign of weakness. Do you remember how how Hitler got Neville Chamberlain to give him everything at Munich? He held the conference at an old palace that forbidden smoking. And after an hour and a half of not smoking, Neville Chamberlain would have given Hitler his mother as a dance partner.

ROGER STERLING: All I can get from the story is Hitler doesn’t smoke and I do.

S1E10

ROGER STERLING: Damn it. Are we supposed to cry about this? So we lost an account, that means we just have to cut back. Let’s go fire somebody.

S3E13

LANE PRYCE: Well, gentlemen, I guess you’re all fired.

ROGER STERLING. Well it’s official. Friday the 13th, December 1963. Four guys shot their own legs off.

S5E1

ROGER STERLING: We were in the neighbourhood and my mother always said “never show up empty-handed”. Oh, damn it.

S7E2

ROGER STERLING: And why the hell aren’t we in the conference room?

PETE CAMPBELL: Sometimes I think I died and I’m in some sort of… I don’t know if it’s heaven or hell or limbo. I don’t know what it is, but I don’t seem to exist. No one feels my existence.

S7E4

ROGER STERLING: You might want to wear shoes

S7E13

ROGER STERLING: So now I give you something you sit down and listen to me.

One of the few funny and melancholic moments in the series

S7E14

ROGER STERLING: She is old enough to be her mother. Actually she is her mother

ROGER STERLING: little rich bastard, he really is I guess

DON DRAPER – people just come and go and nobody says goodbye