A while back, I shared my thoughts on the novel Little Women, and more recently, I saw the new film and thought it would be fun to share my thoughts on the film as well. I’m not a film buff, so I can’t comment too much on more technical parts of the movie like lighting or soundtrack, but I can talk about story and my impressions of actors and how the film worked as an adaptation, so that will be part of my review.
Suggested for You: Little Women Review
Let me also point out, that I am not a huge fan of this novel. I enjoyed it, approve of the deeper messages and agree that it has earned its place as a classic. But I wouldn’t describe this novel as a favourite, as Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen is.
Little Women, (2019) startled me at first. I have to say, I found the opening scene of the movie a bit disconcerting as it begins in the middle of the story, highlighting the fact that Amy and Laurie are in Europe. I wondered if half the novel was going to be skipped over, but instead soon discovered that the story was going to be told in flashbacks, or a dual timeline.
Now, I think this sort of storytelling in film is difficult, and can either be done really well, or be a huge flop. It’s an easy sort of method to edit poorly and therefore be choppy and make for poor viewing. I think. And to be honest…I wasn’t always in love with how this dual timeline was handled. It wasn’t necessarily choppy, but I am not sure that if I hadn’t read the novel so recently that I would have easily understood how the storylines were meeting up and possibly found some parts confusing as to between then and now. However, I do see how the story was taken apart as it were, and sewn back together for the dual timeline, and I think it was carefully done so I’m not going to poo poo that too much.
Likes, Dislikes of the Film
However, what I did love was the acting and costumes and the setting. I think that was all done really well, and I have to say I can see why people would be in love with this movie as a period piece. The March house was quaint, Jo’s outfits were plainer and in line with her character as were the costumes of Amy and Meg, especially those of Amy in Europe. So the portrayal of the characters was communicated not only through excellent dialogue and acting, but through the costume choices which I really thought was so smart.
What I thought was lacking was the relationship between Jo and Mr. Behr; I didn’t think that the dual timeline gave enough screen time to it, and I’m not sure how easy to swallow their sudden marriage is to those who aren’t familiar with the story already. He seems more like a bit character than a character of import and that doesn’t do justice to Jo or her sudden change of mind when it comes to marriage. However, I think possibly this is deliberately done as much more emphasis is placed on her role as a writer, as in the film, she writes and publishes Little Women and decides to open up a school, all seemingly before her marriage, which is a bit of a change from the story in the novel, which makes sense for a modern film, even if these changes aren’t true to the novel or even, to the opportunities and realities of the time in which they are taking place.
I think Little Women is well loved because it’s a story about family more than a love or romance story. It’s a story about young women growing up and learning about themselves. And about the heartaches of growing up and within family, as the March sisters experience through their sibling spats from time to time in the novel, and as was demonstrated in the movie as well. I think that the movie did a wonderful job at pulling the heartstrings in the same way the novel does, especially as pertains to Beth, and to Jo as she struggles to be herself and a woman writer.
I really enjoyed the film, and I would like it watch a few more times both for the pleasure of viewing a period piece (my favs) and also to further dive into this critically as a reader and viewer and as someone with a background in lit and women’s issues from my uni days. I really think that anyone who is a lover of literature, of films, would enjoy this movie as it’s very well done and deserves the praise I’ve been hearing of it.
Did you see the movie? Share your thoughts below!