In the years after the Civil War, Jo March lives in New York and makes her living as a writer, while her sister Amy studies painting in Paris. Amy has a chance encounter with Theodore, a childhood crush who proposed to Jo but was ultimately rejected. Their oldest sibling, Meg, is married to a schoolteacher, while shy sister Beth develops a devastating illness that brings the family back together.
Director: Greta Gerwig
Cast: Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, Florence Pugh, Eliza Scanlen, Laura Dern, Timothée Chalamet, Tracy Letts, Bob Odenkirk, James Norton, Louis Garrel, Chris Cooper, Meryl Streep
Release Date: December 25, 2019
Genres: Drama, Romance
Rated PG for thematic elements and brief smoking.
Runtime: 2h 15 min
It's impossible to not walk away from Greta Gerwig's adaptation of Little Woman feeling uplifted. Sure it's a story that's been told multiple times before but Gerwig's take feels fresh and timely. Some alterations to the story make it feel more modern and the film overall is better for it. She shuffles up the chronology of the novel which makes the familiar story much more interesting and engaging. Gerwig is blessed with a stellar cast which makes the whole thing incredibly watchable. Her muse, Saoirse Ronan, couldn't be better suited to play the head strong Jo. It's easy to forget that she's only 25 since she's so naturalistic and engaging as an actress. Florence Pugh is just as strong in this film even pulling off the incredible feat of of making Amy less annoying and interesting. Emma Watson and Eliza Scanlen round out the other tow sisters with their performances being solid but more subdued. Ultimately it's Ronan's film and she carries it with great ease even though we already know the majority of the story beats. The story does start to drag a bit near the end of it's run time and it's easy to see where 15 or 20 minutes could have been shaved off. Regardless, Gerwig's film is a fine example of how to bring something new to a well worn story but keeping it's spirit at the same time.