Little Women (2019)

A new review from The Movie Snob.

Little Women (2019) (A-).  I haven’t seen any of the numerous prior dramatizations of Louisa May Alcott’s beloved novel, and I haven’t read the book itself in decades, so I was a fairly clean slate.  I just remembered it was the story of four sisters (Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy) living with their mother “Marmee” in the North while their father was off with the Union army in the Civil War.  Director and adapter Greta Gerwig (Lady Bird) complicates the narrative by making the “present” some seven years later and having headstrong sister Jo (Saoirse Ronan, Atonement) remember the Civil War-era events in extensive flashbacks.

At first, I didn’t care for the movie very much, but it quickly grew on me.  I think it was mainly the story—the little domestic squabbles, setbacks, and victories—that won me over.  Aside from Ronan, who’s always good, and Meryl Streep (It’s Complicated…) in a small but fun part as the girls’ rich and crusty spinster aunt, I thought the acting was merely adequate.  Emma Watson (This Is the End) didn’t have a lot to do as oldest sister Meg.  Laura Dern (Star Wars Episode VIII) mostly just beams happily at her wonderful daughters.  And I thought Amy, the youngest sister, was miscast.  I vaguely remember her as a flighty, spoiled, kid-sister type in the novel, but Florence Pugh (Midsommar) is a sturdy, husky-voiced gal who seemed more mature than all three of her “older” sisters.  I expect she’ll be a better fit for her part in the upcoming Marvel movie Black Widow.

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