Movie #26 2020: Little Women (2019)

Florence Pugh, Saoirse Ronan and Emma Watson as the title characters

There has been much talk surrounding Little Women. Although mostly positive, some noise comes due to gripes with the timeline and storyboarding of Greta Gerwig‘s sophomore solo directorial venture.

What needs to be said about this is: you’re wrong. Following this story is exceptionally easy, despite the timeline jumping back and forth in a Nolan-esque fashion. If you followed his Inception with ease, then this movie is a walk in the park. As someone who is just not into classic fiction, of course I have never read Louise May Alcott‘s book. I mean it: my foray into classic novels starts and ends with Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, which means I’ve barely read anything that even has the same sort of tone as the book this movie was based on. And yet, I followed it without a second thought. Basically, if you were confused by the story here, you just weren’t giving it your full attention.

This is a movie that will force you into a whole range of emotions, and despite there being dealings with death, you’ll come out feeling more whole as a human being. The heart of this movie is love and understanding, and what you’ll be left with is the desire to love your fellow sisters and brothers with less reserve.

What Gerwig does exceptionally well is make this movie suited to a modern audience. The costumes, the sets, even some of the dialogue is very old-fashioned and in-keeping with the timing of the original piece of literature, that’s for sure. There’s nothing out of place, no jokes pointing to hints about modern life in 2019; it’s still very 19th century and Gerwig doesn’t want you to forget that. However, she somehow frames everything in a more coherent way for today’s youth (and grown-ups!) to digest. It’s difficult to pinpoint how she does this, in all honesty, but upon watching you’ll know exactly what I mean.

Performances from Florence Pugh, Saoirse Ronan and Laura Dern stand out, which is unsurprising. What pleased me more was that Emma Watson was fabulously okay in this; in comparison to many of the movies I’ve seen, I didn’t cringe once at her Massachusetts accent or her overzealous facial expressions. That’s not to say that she was as notable as the actresses I mentioned at the start of this paragraph, but it is definitely a sigh of relief that she didn’t disjoint this movie. (I promise I don’t even dislike Watson as a person, I just believe that sometimes her acting leaves a lot to be desired. This was much better from her and I believe that’s worth pointing out).

Although Little Women received six Oscar nominations this year, it went largely unloved by the Academy and only scooped one win (costume design). Although I do believe Jojo Rabbit‘s win for Best Adapted Screenplay was well deserved, I like to think of LW as a lovely (*Alyssa Edwards voice*) first alternate. In fact, I’d say the same for the majority of the nominations it received. What is unforgivable however is Gerwig’s Best Director snub. She could have absolutely fit in amongst the list of nominees and quite easily replaced Todd Phillips (Joker) in this category. Sure, Phillips was good. But Gerwig was better. That is a fact.

And so, we continue the fight for female directors to get more recognition. #JusticeForGerwig

TQR Category Ratings:

Costume & Set Design: 
Overall Rating: 


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