Friday night so, a club? A bar? Party?
Nah. My sweat pants, fried chicken, and the comfort of a theater to see this generations rendition of Little Women. Let’s talk about the good and the bad!
Florence. Pugh.: I have not yet seen a performance by this actress, but holy cow where did she come from? I thought it was an odd choice to have the same actress play Amy, the youngest of the four sisters, throughout considering that who she is as an adult is very distinct from who she is as a much younger child- understandably; how was this going to work?
Well, Florence doesn’t just pull it off she makes it my favorite performance in the film. The way she plays young Amy has all the beats from the novel and even from the 90’s version played by Kirsten Dunst, but it’s in her tone of sarcasm and cheekiness that makes it something totally unique and believable.
Her younger self holds so many of the comedic cards in this film; when she gets her hand hurt in school, her perfect burns of her sisters, how shamelessly thirsty she reacts to the presence of new boys, and just the joyful banter she’s able to provide are outstanding.
Equally so there is a dignity and almost stoic beauty to her older interpretation. Everyone did magnificent in this film, but she’s the standout 100%
Editing Choice: Rather than tell the story chronologically the film decides to jump back and forth from the past and the future. It does this a lot and often. There are moments it’s a bit confusing, but more on that below.
Overall however, I appreciate that by making this editing choice they were able to give a new angle of observation to the film that I didn’t pick up on in the 90s version; growing up is a terrible business.
The choice was made to give the scenes from the past a warm light; the candles, the sun, and the autumn leaves served as great indicators of the time period we were in just in case the narration would get a bit confusing.
Beth’s death in the 90’s version was a stab in the chest for anyone with a pulse. It is a pivotal moment in the book after all. The film leaning on this editing choice of past and future forced us to experience her illness back to back. Where in the past she pulls through and hope lives, Jo (Saoirse Ronan) repeats her run down the stairs in the future only to find hope not so giving. I WAS A MESS.
Also, do not worry. Seeing Beth struggle back to back like that doesn’t make the film unbearably heavy. Greta Gerwig succeeded brilliantly at keeping this thing balanced and centered without tipping too far into drama nor too far into comedy. That being said…
Consistent: The film balances multiple elements; humor, romance, and drama and everything gets its fair share of time. Nothing overpowers the others and it makes for a truly enjoyable and re-watchable film. What Greta Gerwig truly achieved, besides making a good movie, is highlighting just how timeless and engaging this story is through that balance and staying true to the source material.
Slow This Thing Down!: The pacing, at times, was a bit fast for me. We were doing a lot of time jumping and character jumping on this wild ride, folks! I repeat, this was only felt a few times in the story. Overall, where and how it chose to jump just made sense. It made it all the more enjoyable to see the contrast of youth and adulthood.
When are We?: I love every actress in this movie, but sometimes I missed the “lighting tells” for what time we were in leaving me totally confused. The movie tried to make this easier on us by relying on Jo’s cut hair during Beth’s back and forth. However, it was a still a bit tricky overall.
Though maybe that is a deliberate thing? Yes, it’s a bit tricky to tell with Beth’s illness at times, but then again what is happening in the past is the same thing happening in the future. The stress and trauma are the same thus blurring the line a bit makes sense?
I digress. I F****** loved this thing.
Is it better than the 90’s version? I don’t mean to compare, but yes. I ADORED this version and worship the creative choice of the time jumps. Florence Pugh is brilliant; prepare yourselves for the next big thing. Saoirse Ronan is, well, Saoirse Ronan; she knocked it out of the park yet again. Emma Watson, what is this woman’s luck? Belle, Hermione, and now Meg! Can someone get her in the MCU or DCEU already? Meg isn’t the center to this story but she did a brilliant and emotional job at delivering Meg’s part.
I give Little Women a 4.5/5 potatoes.
P.S.- How do we get our hands on that red hardcover with the gold label from the end? Seriously I’ll pay whatever…