The Long Plot, Sans Spoiler
Based on the Louisa May Alcott literary classic, this is the story of the close-knit sisters of the March family as they grow up and grow closer.
Jo (Saoirse Ronan), the writer of the bunch, is strong-willed and fiercely independent. Then there's Meg (Emma Watson), who oftentimes clashes with Jo for being much more of a romantic. The youngest sister, Amy (Florence Pugh), is more of the impulsive, emotional artist type. Finally, Beth (Eliza Scanlen), is the musical one, and in some ways, both literal and figurative, she brings the whole family together.
The sisters ultimately grow into their own person, whatever that may mean for each one.
The Short, Honest Plot
A superstar cast with a superstar director take a classic and make it even better!
The Actors And Where You Last Saw Them
Saoirse Ronan as Jo March
She affected a Scottish accent to play the titular role in the historical movie Mary Queen Of Scots, which was released in 2018. She is set to co-star alongside Timothee Chalamet (again!), this time in the new Wes Anderson film, The French Dispatch.
Emma Watson as Meg March
Her last notable role was back in 2017 as Belle in the Beauty And The Beast live-action remake. She's been more focused on her humanitarian work recently, so we don't mind.
Florence Pugh as Amy March
2019 was a busy year for her! She portrayed WWE wrestler, Paige, in dramedy biopic Fighting With My Family. She unknowingly took part in cult festivities as Dani in the folk horror film, Midsommar. And soon, she'll be part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with a prominent role in the upcoming Black Widow movie.
Eliza Scanlen as Beth March
She appeared in Australian drama-comedy Babyteeth. Before that, you might have caught her with Amy Adams in HBO mini-series Sharp Objects.
Laura Dern as Marmee March
She just won her first Academy Award for her supporting role as the cutthroat lawyer for ScarJo's Nora in Marriage Story! She was also a mama bear business exec in both seasons of Big Little Lies.
Timothée Chalamet as Theodore Laurence aka Laurie
It has been announced that he'll be reprising his role as Elio in the Call Me By Your Name sequel, Find Me. In the meantime, sci-fi fans might be excited to learn that we will be seeing him soon in Denis Villeneuve's adaptation of Dune!
Did You Know?
2. Saoirse Ronan really wanted to play Jo. She actively pursued the role in a way that she says she's never done before.
4. Florence Pugh is hilarious on Instagram! Be sure to follow her so you don't miss any of her stories. My personal fave is the riveting drama of her trying to save her cactus. (You're welcome.)
5. Despite the story being set (mostly) in the US, none of the actors portraying the March sisters are actually American. Florence and Emma Watson are English, Saoirse is Irish, and Eliza Scanlen is Australian.
What My Friend Thinks:
"I think the best thing about Little Women is that from the movie, I can tell Greta Gerwig is a fan. It's clear she loves these characters as much as I do, and she gets that Jo isn't the only member of the March Family! Amy forever!" —Sab
What I Think:
I went into the cinema with no expectations, and I stepped out feeling feminist af!
I never read the book the movie is based on, and I can't recall actually seeing the '90s movie with Winona Ryder. (I know, I'm sorry.) So, going into this in 2020, I had little to no knowledge of it, just that…it was old-timey and about sisters.
Having seen it now, I'm wondering: Have I been missing out on this great story this whole time, or is it just that this adaptation did it right? Either way, I'm glad I finally saw it.
There was a nuanced tenderness in the way Greta Gerwig's direction took on each scene, which allowed emotional depth without it becoming patronizing or tokenistic. Plus, being a female director allowed for a more personal perspective in ways that might not come as naturally to a male director. The authenticity translated onscreen, and was felt in each character and their relationships with one another. We fell into the world, felt like a part of the March family, fully immersed.
Ensemble pieces like this are always tricky to pull off, and yet each sister was a stand-out in their own way. That is thanks in huge part to Greta's directing style, the excellent cast of performers, and finally, Jacqueline Durran, the film's award-winning costume designer. I can't write about the movie and not mention her!
Not only did Jacqueline go above and beyond in making sure that dyes and fabrics were as era-appropriate as possible, but she also had clothing items shared between friends and sisters, and repeated too, which added another layer of believability. The detail that I love to point out is how she made the decision to assign each character a color. She accomplished it subtly so as not to be distracting (or gimmicky!) while being noticeable enough for us to visually distinguish one sister from the other.
The director, the majority of the cast, the costume designer—talented women, the lot of them—came together in their creative vision to give us this stellar update of an old favorite.
That, in essence, is in support of the theme of the movie that I could totally get behind: women who are similar in many ways, and yet so distinct from one another, each with their strengths and their own roles to play.
The story may be set in the 19th century but its message is timeless: You do what feels right for you because there is no single right way to be a woman. And you've got to love that.
I'd Recommend It To:
Anyone who grew up with the book, and any one of your friends who, like me before watching, might have no idea what they're missing.