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Nida Amalia

10 Feb 2020 - 4 min read

Little Women Movie Review: A Spectacular Classic Adaptation

By Candra Aditya (Kocan)

Greta Gerwig sounds very popular after knowing that her name wasn’t nominated in Oscar’s Best Director this year. After what she has done in Louisa Alcott’s famous Little Women, no wonder many people feel strange that her name wasn’t on the list.

The latest Little Women is still similar to the previous ones. You definitely can’t change the story if it’s adapted from a popular novel which has become everyone’s favourite. Because that’s what Greta Gerwig does as a director and writer in this movie which is considered a bit radical: she makes it very relevant to the present time.

Not only Greta Gerwig shows a relationship between the sisters and their family dynamic, but also about women. The meaning of life for women, the meaning of success for women, the meaning of wealth for women. In short, this new version of Little Women is a bit feminist.

In this movie, Jo March is played by Saoirse Ronan, is back to collaborate with Gerwig after Lady Bird. Jo March is the main character in this movie. The character is shown as a writer in March’s family. Then there is Meg March (Emma Watson) a girl who wants to be a superstar. Beth (Eliza Scanlen, taken from HBO’s miniseries, Sharp Objects) who’s really into a piano. And the last one is Amy March (Florence Pugh, nominated in Oscars in this movie) who loudly shouts “I want to be something or nothing at all.”

This movie seems really honest and simple through a story of four siblings and their mom. But the reality, what Greta offers in the latest version of Little Women is way more complex and exciting. Because Gerwig knows there’s a lot of Little Women’s version out there and she needs to do her own.

Little Women had a very conventional way of narrating before. Everything was linear. Things went smooth based on what Louisa May Alcott wrote on her book. In Gerwig’s Little Women, she changes the narration of the actors.

She uses non-linear narration to make it fresher. And she nailed it because now young March Sisters story becomes a strong memory you won’t forget. While their adult time story in facing bittersweet life portrays a reality.

These two contrasting ideas are connected together by Nick Houy which becomes perfectly coherent. Houy successfully makes this 135-minute movie feels short. Everything goes fast but still has the essence of its moment or emotion to make audiences feel sad, happy, upset or even angry.

Visually, Little Women is more flowing than the previous movies. That’s because Gerwig realizes that this story shows four siblings who have their own dreams in young and wild spirit, she makes scene-blocking like a ballet dance. Nevertheless, Yorick Le Saux camera follows the move smoothly.

Even when there are seven main characters in one screen and they’re all talking, the audience will stay focus on the scene. None of the scenes will be missed and unimportant.

One more thing, the decision to have different colour tones - golden and blueish - in different scenes make Little Women very nostalgic yet modern at the same time.

The actors’ moves in Little Women feel wild and smooth because every department of this movie works their best. The production design perfectly shows natural retro impressions.

The costumes from Jacqueline Durran gives a stunning look to the characters. Besides the wardrobe which fits each character, Durran also designs the costumes as flexible as each character’s move. So when they step, run, dance, they will all look beautiful.

The second radical thing Greta Gerwig makes which often forgotten by the previous movies is make Amy’s character stand out. In Little Women, everybody knows there is this love triangle between Jo, Amy and Laurie (Timothee Chalamet). Here, Gerwig shows her magic.

She knows how to make Amy sound smart instead of arrogant. She also knows how to make a character who is hated the most become easy to understand. This decision makes Little Women more enjoyable to watch.

The last radical thing Greta Gerwig injects in this new Little Women to make it one of the best movies is she gives this movie a statement. Many people know the similarity between Louisa May Alcott and Jo March she wrote. Gerwig connects both. Fiction and reality become one. The result is a very understandable main character.

Because Gerwig herself is a female writer who is involved in an industry which majority runs by men, she knows how to fight, sacrifice and compromise. That’s why Gerwig’s work becomes incredibly amazing.

The audience is given this information about how important it is to find a rich husband because women aren’t allowed to work. And also rules about how to be a perfect woman that time and compromise in the art context. This additional makes Little Women become more than just an adapted movie. Gerwig makes a hundred-year story relevant in present. This is an amazing result.

Little Women won’t be a spectacular family movie with laughter and tears if it’s not because of its great actors. This movie is, of course, has outstanding actors who fit one to another.

Laura Dern shows a stronger and warmer mother figure. Timothee Chalamet will make you fall in love. Even more, the collaboration among Saoirse Ronan, Florence Pugh, Eliza Scanlen and Emma Watson will make you believe that they’re true siblings. Their relationship is pure, strong bond.

Watching Little Women is like getting a warm hug from someone we love. This is a gift for movie lovers. Greta Gerwig’s skills in putting all together in one movie might not be appreciated in the Oscar, but time will witness her work in Little Women.

Not only for some, but Little Women is also suitable for those who want to know what emancipation is. Watch this movie at your favourite cinema and book your ticket here:

Little Women

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