Re-telling a classic is almost always fraught with danger – that of comparison, of literary and cinematic licenses taken and even of commercial intents.
Director Greta Gerwig does a very good job of keeping true to Louisa May Alcott’s novel, even keeping some of the novel’s original dialogues, but at the same time she leaves her indelible print on the finished work, though subtly. First published in 1868, Little Women has been adapted for screen, TV, Stage etc. for more than 20 times and why it remains relevant and relatable even today, is because of Jo March. Played here by the delightful and absolutely wonderful Saoirse Ronan (pronounced Ser-Sha), for decades she has been every woman’s hero. Spunky, rebellious and lovably fresh, Jo is alluring, non-conformist and with the steel in her spine which devilishly steps on the toes of patriarchal society. It was more so then, less subtly even now. Ronan carries it off with practised elan, her pigtail flies after her soaring ambition and unbeatable drive, she makes this role her own and narrowly missed out on an Oscar for her performance.
Another brilliant role is that of Amy (Florence Pugh), the supposedly naughtier sister, but here she clashes with Jo because deep down they are so much alike! Pugh rolls with the character and matches Ronan step for step. It is sheer delight watching these two have such a blast!!
Meryl Streep (she’s 70 now)plays the affluent Aunt March, and such is her charisma and personality, she dwarfs everybody sharing the shot with her! One of the best Actors to have graced Hollywood, she blends into the authoritative and straight shooter role here but Ronan still holds her own.
Meg (Emma Watson) is the disappointment here, though her role is generally in the background, but she looks uncomfortable and off-kilter here. She herself, would not be proud of her role!
I am not going into the story here, for it is well known and much discussed for years. Watch it for the fresh take and fabulous acting and how Gerwig keeps the century old saga relevant and relatable after 150 + years!
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