This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Matt Wood’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
I didn’t connect with the film as much as I thought I would. I think it felt a little...too clean, maybe...for a story taking place during the civil war. And that kept me at a distance.
But, there were two things that I found really striking about the filmmaking that I continue to think about: the time jumps and the ending.
The film opens with a scene and then a transition with a “7 years earlier” title, but that’s the only one we get. There are 4 or 5 different time periods shown in the film, and we don’t get anymore titles explaining the jumps back and forth.
It jumps frequently to show parallels in situations, but I wasn’t always sure exactly when we were after the jump. I was generally pretty sure about “forward” or “backward” though.
For the first few jumps I found myself really trying to place each scene, but once we started jumping around a lot I was able to settle in and just let the story happen.
Non-linear story telling is common, but always comes with its challenges. I thought Little Women really succeeded here.
The other striking thing was the ending. The film is ultimately one of those “the main character is writing the book we’re reading” tales. But, without being explicit, they were able to show that the ending we’re seeing deviates from the “actual” ending. I love how they used a classic Hollywood orchestral rise to draw our attention to the fiction. It felt very Charlie Kaufman to me, I loved it.