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I Bet You Didn't See... Little Women

Contains Spoilers!!!

I'll be perfectly honest, I am not a big fan of what you might call "human" films, but Little Women is brilliant. It is wonderfully made, the character development is so clear, the emotion is raw and the textures within the scenes is gorgeous.

So the basic story of the original story is Louisa May Allcott telling of her childhood domestic struggles through a pseudo-name. Illnesses, family strife, sibling arguments and love interests passing by. The main character, Jo March (Saoirse Ronan), is a free-spirited writer trying to sell her stories to the newspapers (as was done in those days) and doesn't want to be tied to stereotypes of the day.

Meg, Amy, Jo and Beth

Jo and her three sisters, Beth (Eliza Scanlen), Meg (Emma Watson) and Amy (Florence Pugh) are inseparable, but all very differently defined. Beth is shy, musical and always thinks of others. She makes friends with the rich neighbor, being allowed to play his late daughter's piano and becoming a second daughter to him. Meg has a huge heart and wants to look after everyone. Being the eldest, Jo looks up to Meg and wants to be with her forever, so is devastated when she gets married. How could she follow society's expectations? Amy is the youngest sister, and she is a jealous and quick-to-temper artist who dreams of fame and glamour.

As the sisters grow, life gets in the way. Along with Laurie (Timothée Chalamet), who is a bit of a ladies-man that the girls all love in different ways, their mother Marmee (Laura Dern), the family housekeeper Hannah (Jayne Houdyshell), the family goes through highs and lows from their schooldays to their adulthood.

Also, a quick shout-out to Meryl Streep, who plays the pompous, grumpy Aunt March so well and is, well, so Meryl!

Laura Dern, Meryl Streep and Florence Pugh

I love the textures in Little Women. The house, in particular, set is so well thought out. The main house is clean, well maintained and reflects the family's former fortunes. Meanwhile, the attic, where the girls practice their plays and Jo writes her story over the course of the film, is filled with all their childhood toys and costumes and looks like it has been loved over years. There is warmth, fear, emptiness and love expressed in every scene in various ways.

I also found Saoirse Ronan's performance of Jo March completely engrossing. She is passionate over her defiance of societal expectations, and yet so desperate in her loneliness. Her bonds with her family are so strong, even when she hates people with everything she has and I relate so much to her genuine performance. And while her relationships with each character are all so well defined and displayed, Jo and Marmee have my favourite relationship.

Marmee (Dern) and Jo (Ronan) discuss anger

There are two beautiful moments between them where Jo is expressing her feelings to her mother. The first is when they are sitting by her sister Amy who is asleep after falling into a frozen lake. Jo expresses how passionately she can hate people, and learns how her calm, collected mother truly feels under the surface. The second is later, when Jo breaks down in front of Marmee once she realises she has made a mistake rejecting a proposal years before. Jo's emotion is so pure and genuine, and I thought Ronan was incredible in the role.

Little Women is beautiful, powerful, emotional and stunning to watch. It tells the story of life, and that's why I love it.

Directed by: Greta Gerwig

Screenplay by: Greta Gerwig

Based on: "Little Women" by Louisa May Allcott

Starring: Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, Florence Pugh, Eliza Scanlen, Laura Dern, Meryl Streep, Timothée Chalamet

Released: December 7th, 2019

My Rating: 9/10

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