📽 Little Women (2019) ⭐⭐⭐

Hello, my fellow bookworms and adaptation fans, today I am bringing you my thoughts on the period film, Little Women (2019), which is the newest adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s wonderful 1868 children’s novel. I watched this at the end of November, tucked in bed early due to feeling poorly, hoping for a lovely, comforting watch. Being a big fan of the 1994 film though, I went in with a little trepidation.

The film opens in 1868, where the headstrong Jo March is working as a teacher and hoping to become a published author, in New York City. Although she is having some success and making money off her lurid mystery stories in the newspaper, Jo becomes hurt when Friedrich Bhaer, a professor in her boarding house, critiques her work and tells her she could do so much better.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the Atlantic, Jo’s youngest sister, Amy March is acting as companion and travelling with their wealthy spinster Aunt March. One night, at a ball in Paris, Amy unexpectantly bumps into their childhood friend, Laurie. Amy becomes angry at Laurie’s drunken behaviour, prompting him to mock her for courting the wealthy businessman Fred Vaughn.

Then both young women receive the news that their sister Beth’s illness has seriously worsened, at which point Jo immediately packs her bags and returns to the family home in Concord, Massachusetts. Over the next few weeks as Jo cares for Beth, she begins to write a new story, a story especially for Beth about all four sisters: Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy and their childhood adventures, with the boy next door, Laurie.

From this point on the film flips between the past and the present. Taking us back to that famous Christmas with ‘Marmee’, while their father is away in the war and then working its way through all the events that have shaped these four little women. Then in the present, we are shown how Beth’s illness, Jo’s writing, and Amy’s and Laurie’s relationship progresses. Finally, at the end of the film, everyone is brought back together at the family home, for that warm, happy, satisfying ending.

Straight off I have to say how much I loved the costumes and overall use of colour in this film. Everything has such a warm, vibrant, cosy tone to it – from the sisters’ dresses, the décor of the March family home, to rosy glow that every shot seems to be infused with. It is very comforting, welcoming and just makes you want to be there with them. A real treat for the eyes! 😍

Another big plus for this film is the casting. I thought Saoirse Ronan and Timothée Chalamet do a fantastic job as Jo and Laurie. While Emma Watson, Laura Dern, Edward Norton and Meryl Streep all put in very good performances too. My only criticism would be Florence Pugh as Amy. Don’t get me wrong her performance was fantastic, but I struggled with how much older she looked, especially as she plays Amy for the entire film.

Now for two things, which didn’t really bother me, but I think fair to discuss for any other fans of the novel. The first is some of the additional dialogue added, presumably by the film’s writer and director Greta Gerwig, that have a little more modern feminist leaning. I generally found them in keeping, so didn’t mind. The other is the flipping between times I mentioned earlier, as it does take a little while to get into, considering the novel’s plot is linear.

So all in all, did I get that lovely, comforting watch I wanted? Most definitely! I thought Little Women (2019) was an utterly charming film. That brought to life this beloved coming-of-age tale beautifully, with an all-star cast and a few refreshing new touches, and it succeeded in making me smile, laugh and cry! While I don’t think it has knocked the 1994 film off my top spot, I do still highly recommend for fans of the novel and period films. Great watch ⭐⭐⭐

p.s. Writing this has made me think that maybe I need to re-watch the 1994 adaptation and then do a comparison review… What do you think?!

Have you watched this? Or any other adaptations of Little Women? What has been your favourite? Please let me know in the comments below!

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13 thoughts on “📽 Little Women (2019) ⭐⭐⭐

  1. Thanks for a great summary of the latest screen offering of this beloved classic. I totally agree that the feminist additions and switching back and forth between time periods took a bit of getting used to (although they fit with the spirit of the original novel). I think this sort of thing is inevitable when each new director wants to put their mark on (and update) the story to fit the times.

  2. The 1994 version is my favorite adaptation, too. But I did enjoy this one as well. I agree about the back-and-forth time situations being confusing, and this Amy seemed older than the books.

  3. I went to see this at the cinema just before the pandemic started and I really enjoyed it too. I agree with you about Florence Pugh, though – her performance was great, but she wasn’t very convincing as twelve-year-old Amy.

    1. How lovely that you were able to see this at cinema, Helen and that you really enjoyed it, even though you had the same niggle as me with Florence Pugh as young Amy. 😃

  4. I’ve never seen a film adaptation of Little Women, but I’ve got the book on my Classics Club list (as a re-read!). 😀

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