‘Little Women’ movie review: Saoirse Ronan and Emma Watson shine in stellar adaptation

Director Greta Gerwig brilliantly brings Louisa May Alcott’s enduring classic to life

Kelly Ho |

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(From left) Emma Watson, Florence Pugh, Saoirse Ronan, and Eliza Scanlen in 'Little Women'.

Director Greta Gerwig’s brilliant adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women brings the enduring classic to life on the big screen. With clever editing and stellar performances from an all-star cast, Gerwig beautifully retells the story that has served as an inspiration for women for generations.

The film revolves around the lives of the March sisters in the years after the American Civil War. It is a coming-of-age tale about how four girls try to live their lives on their own terms, all the while challenging the rigid genders roles of the time and society’s definition of womanhood.

Jo (Saoirse Ronan), who treasures freedom above all, pursues a career in writing and teaching though society is indifferent about female writers. Wilful Amy (Florence Pugh) aspires to be an artist but feels overshadowed by older sister Jo. Beth (Eliza Scanlen) is a talented pianist but falls sick. Meg (Emma Watson) chooses the more traditional path of marriage, but does it for love rather than for convenience.

Out of all the actresses, Ronan stood out the most with her compelling portrayal of a lionhearted and independent woman who also longs to find true love.

Direction-wise, Gerwig cleverly reconstructs the time frame of the story to jump between past and present. But she does it so seamlessly that the plot is easy to follow, even for audience members who have not read the novel.

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The non-linear narrative also provides interesting insights into the characters’ various transformations, which is not an easy thing to do with so many principal characters in a little over two hours.

Supported by a stellar cast, with living legend Meryl Streep starring as matriarch Aunt March and last year’s Best Actor Oscar nominee Timothée Chalamet as the charming Laurie, the latest remake of Little Women is not to be missed.