Another adaptation of the famous Louisa May Alcott novel about the lives of the March sisters in 19th century America.
I was going to say here that nobody needs to be provided with a plot synopsis for this film because everyone knows the story of the March sisters. However, I was shocked (yes, shocked I tell you) to discover that not only had my husband not seen any of the previous versions, but did not have a single idea about what the story covered, except girls and possibly references to the American Civil War.
I have to refer to it as the American Civil War because over here in the UK we had our own Civil War, albeit at a time when the crowns but not the nations were united.
Having thought about it I decided that (1) my husband was clearly the exception that proves the rule, (2) I do not need to explain the plot and (3) having originally thought that I might go to see this by myself I determined to take him with me.
Anyway, I’ve read the books so many times that I was able to give my husband the key plot points on the way to the cinema, and we settled down.
I was mesmerised by this version, not just because the structure of the film moves away from the strictly linear narrative and flits back and forth between Jo’s life in New York (and her return home because of Beth) and the stories of them as youngsters up to that point.
It’s a beautifully written and extremely well-acted film with an excellent cast and some overt feminism that’s only hinted at in the original novels, using the words of Louisa May Alcott from her other writings I believe.
Stand-outs for me were Saorise Ronan as Jo and Florence Pugh (rapidly becoming one of my favourite actresses) as Amy. The handsomeness of Professor Bhaer did not go unnoticed.
I laughed and cried in all the right places and thoroughly enjoyed myself. Highly recommended.
Directed by Greta Gerwig, 2h 15 minutes long and rated U with very mild threat.
Postscript – there have been several previous versions of Little Women as I mentioned, and here they are for completeness:
- 2018 – a modernised one which I will simply ignore
- 2017 – The BBC adaptation, which I have not seen
- 1994 – the one with Winona Ryder
- 1978 – a version which I have not seen but includes Susan Dey
- 1949 – the one with June Allyson and Elizabeth Taylor, and the one I grew up with (though please note I was born significantly later than 1949)
- 1933 – the one with Katharine Hepburn
- 1918 – I did not even know that this existed.