Rental Review: Little Women

Little Women, big feels. Honestly, I think I just need to go lie down and stare at the ceiling contemplatively for a while… though the fetal position will also do.

Basic Synopsis: Four inseparable sisters grow both together and apart in life, love, and narrative prowess. …I might be overthinking the ending, you guys.

Brief Thoughts: I’ll admit that I’ve avoided Little Women all my life knowing that the sadness it causes is so deep that it pushed grown men to hide the book away in a freezer. And though the iPad I watched the film on didn’t get tucked away as Rachel Green’s borrowed copy of the novel did, Greta Gerwig’s adaptation definitely caused my more sympathetic dog to check in with me on a few different occasions. But for every cool-paletted scene in the present of the March sisters’ lives, there is so much warmth and happiness when we bounce back to the days seven years prior. Had it not been for the infectious joy and genuine chemistry between these girls (played beautifully by Emma Watson, Saoirse Ronan, Florence Pugh, and Eliza Scanlen) I might have been contented with just sticking to Joe Wright’s Pride & Prejudice going forward, especially since it doesn’t leave me with an overwhelming emotion migraine, but these performances cement this iteration of an oft revisited story as something worth seeing. And if I’m not overthinking the ending, then oof. Why you do this, Gerwig?

Favorite Line: “I can’t believe childhood is over.”

Let’s Talk About That Ending (Spoilers): Remember when I said I was probably overthinking the ending a billion times above? Well I just checked to see if the film ends in the same way as the book, which it does, leading me to believe that it could really be simply just a sudden happy ending for everyone (except for Beth, RIP). But what if it isn’t? The abruptness of Jo finding love just doesn’t sit right with me, no matter how typical of the genre it may be. Which is why I’m clinging to the possibility that Gerwig took that fairytale ending and ran with it to enough of an extent that those of us unsatisfied could find more between the lines, and that maybe what we’re being shown isn’t the truth. Between the conversation with Jo and the story editor, the scenes in which characters talked straight to the camera (which I wish we’d had more of), the warm color palette flooding into the current day timeline creating something far too picturesque… I dunno. Maybe I’ve just grown skeptical of films in which Ronan plays an author because she’s brutally pulled the wool over my eyes before, but it felt like a fabrication to me. And if it is a fabrication of Jo’s creation, I find there is so much more weight to the rest of the film, how the story plays out, how the characters are presented, etc., because it’s no longer a perfect retelling of events, it’s Jo’s retelling, her truths.

I dunno, I clearly need to watch it again. Maybe I’m late to the party and everyone knew the ending was a lie from the moment they saw the book cover at the start of the film. Yeah, this is Jo’s story. Duh. I just didn’t expect to be wrestling with these deep thoughts after watching Little Women.

Final Thoughts: After decades of putting it off, I am happy to report that Little Women lived up to the high expectations I had for it, especially considering the praise heaped on Greta Gerwig’s iteration. She really did deserve more consideration come Oscar time.

So what’d you think of Little Women? Be sure to tell me all about it in the comments below or over on twitter, where you can find me at BewareOfTrees.

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