The coming-of-age film, Little Women (2019), captures the hearts of millions


Tatum Brennan, Health Editor

Little Women is an outstanding film that reflects on themes relating to childhood and adulthood. It is a masterpiece at conveying the message that women can tell their own stories without needing a man in their lives.

Based on Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women novels published in 1868 and 1869, the film has been nominated for a total of six Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Original Score, and won Best Costume Design in 2020. It was also awarded many other awards at Critics Choice, Golden Globes, BAFTA, and many more. 

Director Greta Gerwig takes the sisters’ past and present lives and seamlessly weaves between them. Opening in New England during the Civil War, the main protagonist Jo March (Saoirse Ronan) is an aspiring author who struggles to publish her book for all to see. The only obstacle in the way is her “boss.” He is shown to be a grumpy middle-aged man who has no regard for women in his life.

The movie then moves back to the past seven years ago, where the audience learns about Jo and her sisters. Jo desires to find happiness within her writing, Amy (Florence Pugh) wants to find joy in her artwork and marry Laurie (Timothee Chalamet), Meg (Emma Watson) has a lack of romance in her life and craves the thought of marriage with children, and Beth (Eliza Scanlen) dreams to fend off her shy personality. 

I appreciate that the movie showed all the sisters’ journeys from childhood to adulthood and didn’t only reflect on Jo. All the characters are three-dimensional and have a well-thought-out story behind them. The movie makes sure to make some differences between the 1994 version and the 2019 version. Greta Gerwig completely re-did the ending from the 1994 edition. She wanted the film to end on a high note. She wanted the story to perpetuate that a woman can be satisfied with her life in many ways. Women don’t have to align to one specific life; there is individuality within everyone. Gerwig purposely changed one of the character’s storylines and development. Amy March had a drastic change from the 1994 edition to the 2019 version. Amy’s actor, Florence Pugh, does an excellent job portraying her. The viewer this time feels empathy for her and you understand where all her emotions stem from. She has a reason behind all her behaviors. Amy is given a redemption arc from going from a bratty spoiled girl to a vulnerable and emotional woman who goes through a lot of ups and downs throughout the film. 

Here is a video link to a scene depicting Florence Pugh’s acting abilities and the change in Amy’s character: Little Women Amy Scene

Greta Gerwig is a new up-and-coming director and screenplay writer. She has directed and produced movies such as Nights and Weekends (2008), Lady Bird (2017), and the upcoming Barbie (2023). Her abilities are beyond comprehension. Having a woman direct this film was an important choice they made. If a man were to produce it, the film would not be as impactful with its notion of feminist ideology and womanhood. Her characters are realistic; they have flaws, just like anyone else. Some of their weaknesses are worse than others, but that is typically the way humans are.

The cinematography is beautiful—calm and warm tones throughout the film highly connect and resonate with the viewer. It anchors them to the story and lets them in on what to expect. The warm tones represent childhood, warmth, and home, while the cool tones represent adulthood, gloom, and cycle. 

The costume designs are well-thought and make sense for the time period. A few items of clothing throughout the film sometimes need to be corrected to the period, but for the most part, it stays periodically accurate. What most people don’t realize is the detail that goes behind each sister’s individual clothing and color choices. They each have their individual color palette that goes along with their personality and sense of fashion, which portrays heightened emotions. This was the costume designer and director’s choice. Jo is depicted primarily in red and indigo tones, Amy in blues, Meg in purples and greens, and Beth in lighter pinks and browns. 

Not only does Little Women have unforgettable characters and costume designs, but it also has a fantastic scoreboard. Due to the film’s score and influence, it was nominated for Best Original Score at the 2020 Academy Awards. Accompaniment is a critical component in this movie and makes it so entrancing. All the music has a deeper meaning that can’t be ignored. Each note hits your heartstrings harder and harder each time you truly listen in. 

I highly recommend this film to people who enjoy coming-of-age films, 1800s romance, feminist themes, and a heartfelt watch. The movie is rated PG, so it is friendly to everyone, regardless of age. While PG, the themes might be hard to understand at times, expanding on topics such as love, family, honesty, and partnership. Do yourself a favor and watch the movie of a lifetime, Little Women

After reading this review, make sure to read Brooke Lattin’s movie review as well.  

Little Women Official Trailer:

What is your boldest opinion on any piece of classic English literature made into a film? 

Ms. Anderson: “I have watched a lot of excellent movies and terrible movies. A perfect one was Little Women 2019. The historical accuracy in the costumes and themes were excellent.”

Mrs. Kaa: “The Green Knight disappointed me a great amount since the portrayal of the green knight was not correct compared to the version in the poem. When I was reading the poem, I did not imagine him to look that way. It really angered me and it ruined the way I view the Green Knight.”