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  • Writer's pictureJulia Slaughter

"Little Women" is a timeless representation of womanhood

The beauty of Little Women is that I was able to see a piece of myself in each and every one of the characters, and it made me leave the theater feeling understood on the deepest level.

Released December 25, 2019 | Rated PG | Drama | Runtime: 135 minutes | Directed by Greta Gerwig

To the horror of my sixth grade self, I did not read Louisa May Alcott’s "Little Women" before seeing Greta Gerwig’s latest work in theaters. Seeing a book-to-movie adaptation without having read the book used to feel like the ultimate sin. However, I was drawn to seeing "Little Women" primarily due to its star-studded cast that includes, but is not limited to, Emma Watson (my childhood hero), Saoirse Ronan, Laura Dern, Meryl Streep, and of course, the beautiful Timothée Chalamet. Little did I know when my mom and I settled into the theater (our bag of sour candy in hand) that I would fall completely in love with this world, and that I wouldn’t be able to stop thinking about it for weeks to come.

"Little Women" is a story of sisterhood, but more importantly, it is a story of human experiences that prevail time, place, and economic status. It follows the March sisters: Meg, Jo, Amy, and Beth, as they come of age in 19th century New England. They embark on a journey of self-discovery and express themselves through all forms of art; they fall in love (often with the same 19th century f*ckboy); they travel, struggle, love, fight, act, write, dance, and do all the things that young (one might even say, Little) women do.

The story is perfectly paced, and the framework of the film is shot, edited, and produced with the utmost care. That said, "Little Women" is told in vignettes that frequently jump between decades and locations, which is sometimes difficult to grapple with, especially not having read the book beforehand.

I soon caught onto the nuances of the sound editing and lighting that distinguish the different time periods, which helped. In earlier memories, which mostly feature joyful childhood antics, the light is warm and glowing, with a sweeping score; when it switches to the present, the light is cool toned, and the eerie silence echoes the feeling of isolation each of the characters feels at different points. It’s definitely not a movie to watch passively. I was completely enraptured for all 135 minutes, focused on figuring out where and when we were.

The performances of each and every actor in the film were unbelievably exquisite. Emma Watson depicts Meg's wisdom and responsibility in addition to her own longings for high society; Saoirse Ronan is a firecracker for Jo, who is passionate, impatient, joyful and frustrated; Timothée Chalamet is more than eye candy; his character, Laurie, frustrated me at first, but the slow burn of his heartache that culminates into a confrontation between him and one of the sisters is one of the most beautiful scenes in the entire film.

The beauty of "Little Women,"as a story in general, but especially in this adaptation, is that I was able to see a piece of myself in each of the characters, and I felt understood on the deepest level when I left the theater. My mom and I both cried multiple times because of these connections, and because of this, I must say that "Little Women" is a beautiful masterpiece.

- Final Thoughts -

"Little Women" reminds viewers of the things that connect us all, regardless if we live in 2020 or 1870. It was visually and sonically stunning, and the acting was brilliant. However, the non-linear storytelling structure, while unique, was difficult to follow at times, especially as someone who did not know the original story.

("Little Women" image courtesy of Vox)


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