Little Women

Little Women ★★★★★

2019 Ranked

As far as features based on popular novels go, Greta Gerwig’s Little Women has to be one of the most soulful I’ve seen in quite sometime. It’s a film that feels classical in its narrative and filmmaking, yet timely in its themes. Based on what I’ve heard regarding the structure of the novel, Gerwig’s new take sounds quite risky in theory, yet the structure here is pulled off so beautifully that it almost looks effortless (credit must also be given to editor Nick Houy in that regard). On top of that, the filmmaking as a whole is refreshingly subtle yet top notch. DP Yorick Le Saux (who actually provided some of the very best cinematography of 2019 in Claire Denis’ masterpiece, High Life), composer Alexandre Desplat, set designer Jess Gonchor, and costume designer Jacqueline Durran all do an incredible job in capturing the 1860s. Everyone and everything feels so textured and lived in.

But as much as this film couldn’t be what it is without Greta Gerwig, it couldn’t be what it is without her ensemble either. The acting ranges from solid to strong across the board, with Saoirse Ronan (who gives what is, without question, her best performance) and Florence Pugh in particular delivering phenomenal performances. The latter in particular has had quite a 2019 between this and her phenomenal work in MIDSOMMAR (which is my favorite performance of hers), and I’m super excited to see where her career goes.

Very rarely do I see an adaptation of an acclaimed and incredibly popular novel, especially one that was produced by a mainstream studio, that feels this personal or sincere. In fact, it’s so wholesome that there were times when I was just smiling. One can just *feel* Gerwig’s passion for the source material and these characters - who are all captivating, if not outright endearing - from watching the film that, even as someone who hasn’t read the novel, I just *know* that Louisa May Alcott would’ve been very proud with what Gerwig has crafted had she been alive to see it. Overall, I absolutely loved Greta Gerwig’s Little Women, and I strongly recommend it.

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