Anytime an award-winning book is made into a movie, there are two distinct and separate camps that hold their breath. ‘Movie people’ who think that the only way to make great movies are with original ideas and concepts and ‘book people’ who think that making every book into a movie devalues the source material because fewer people will read the book if a movie is available. Both groups can rest easy as “Little Women” is an early favorite to win the Oscar for “Best Picture” this February.
“Little Women” is the seventh time the classic American novel by Louisa May Alcott has been adopted for the big screen. The story follows four sisters—Jo, Meg, Amy and Beth March—as they mature into adulthood living in relative poverty during Civil War-era America.
Director Greta Gerwig finds a way to rejuvenate the 150-year-old story with a cast that includes Saoirse Ronan as Jo, Emma Watson as Meg, Florence Pugh as Amy, Eliza Scanlen as Beth and Timothée Chalamet as Laurie.
Together, Gerwig and the cast take the audience to a world that not only is visually pleasing but also makes the viewer feel like they are included in the action, creating a movie that is perfect for escapism and a break from the “cotton candy cottage industry” of CGI fights, fast cars and franchises. Gerwig is able to create a film that even the most stingy critic can not help but enjoy.
It cannot be understated how the on-screen chemistry of Ronan and Pugh helps this film stand out, and how the entire cast of this movie works so well together on screen. With Hollywood legends like Laura Dern (who plays Marmee March) and Meryl Streep (who plays Aunt March) used in more of a supporting role, the talent of the other younger actors can be more pronounced.
The cast reminded me of a really good puzzle: when you look at the front of the box, you can not imagine how all the pieces come together and recreate the image. When you leave the theater, you see everything fit perfectly together.
Unlike other “Oscar Bait” movies that come out around this time of year, the dialogue between the actors on-screen has more of a sense of realism than some other movies where scenes can be overacted to the point that dramas feel more like comedies.
The fact that “Little Women” is a great movie only adds to the incredible idiocracy of the group of people who refuse to see this movie—men. Before the movie even hit the theaters nationwide over Christmas weekend, making over $16.7 million in the box office, the think pieces and opinion articles were already on websites across all platforms. “Little Women has a ‘Little Man’ Problem” stated Vanity Fair. The New York Times wrote about how many men were already writing off the movie as only for women.
When I saw this movie in theaters Dec. 26, the theater was full. It was the first time I had seen a movie where there wasn’t an open seat around me since the last big superhero film I saw on opening night. When I left the theater, the droves of young women and moms who came to see the movie with their younger daughters was enough for me to take notice. Of the men who I saw leaving the theater with me, there might have only been two who came by themselves and about six more who came with their wives.
Books could (and have) been written about how important representation in media matters, and while I agree wholeheartedly, I think it’s also very important for those movies to be seen.
“Little Women” was by far the best film I saw this year. From the score to the cast to the acting and visuals, this movie had everything I wanted and more. The fact that, in 2020, women are dealing with the same or similar issues they have been facing since the birth of cinema is not only troubling but also disheartening.
Do not be shocked if you see Gerwig, Ronan and a bevy of other members of the cast and crew on the Oscar stage Feb 9. I give “Little Women” 5/5 stars.