By: Nia Fitzhugh, Contributing Writer
“Little Women” is no stranger to the big screen. Little Women has had multiple adaptations over the years, from feature films to a mini-television series, dating from 1912 to the most recent adaptation in 2019. The films have been adapted from the novel of the same name by Louisa May Alcott.
Set in Concord, Massachusetts during the American Civil War, this coming-of-age story follows four sisters: Meg, Jo, Amy and Beth. Born into their lower-class standing, the March family is constantly looking for ways to entertain and help those in need. Meg is an aspiring actress, Jo is a writer, Amy is an artist and Beth is a pianist.
The movie starts on Christmas morning. The girls are waiting for their mother to return from a visit to a family that has it a lot worse than them. Eager to divulge in their bountiful amount of food, the girls nearly trample each other to get to the table. However, once their mother returns with news that the other family she was visiting has no food or money, the girls willingly sacrifice their own food to the family in need. This is just a sliver of “Little Women’s” heartwarming plot.
The 2019 version of the film stars A-listers like Meryl Streep, Emma Watson, Saoirse Ronan, and Timothée Chalamet, which makes the film more interesting to watch overall. According to Oprah Magazine, the 1994 version of the film became the definitive adaptation for many. The elite cast of this version stars: Winona Ryder, Christian Bale and Susan Sarandon who fell into their roles with absolute honesty and naturalness. However, upon last year’s release, I think that claim could be reinstated.
Unlike those in the past, the 2019 adaptation of the movie has a more feminist-like approach. The main character, Jo March, was more confident and headstrong throughout the entirety of the movie. She showcases her unwavering courage via a staunch stance on marriage and in deciding to own the copyright of her book, which was rare for a female writer of the time. Another notable difference in this version is that the main characters remain adults throughout the entirety of the film, showing flashbacks to explain backstory, while in others, movie-goers watch the characters grow from adolescence into adulthood.
Because of the multitude of adaptations to the original story, Sony Pictures had a lot to prove with its 2019 adaptation, and I do believe it brings a lot to the table. Overall, I felt the 2019 adaptation felt more genuine. I think that audiences now can relate to this most recent version and its characters.Whether it be Jo, Amy, Meg, or Beth, I feel that while watching, you may associate with one of the girls and their respective struggles. I also think the fact that the actors are of pop-culture’s current a-list plays a role in the movies overall success as well. While remaining true to the story, this adaptation just felt simply timeless. In short, this version made me personally feel more attached to the story and I found myself holding back tears more than once.
Despite my immense amount of praise for this movie, I do believe it missed the mark on some aspects. While the flashbacks did add texture to the film, I do believe that it relied on them too heavily, making the storyline confusing and difficult to follow at times. In addition, I also believe that the movie felt drawn on at certain points. I found myself wondering how much more of the story could fit in the two-hour time span. I would recommend it to anyone who is looking for a film that will make you feel good walking out of it.