The newest adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s classic novel, “Little Women,” was the best version I have ever seen. Directed by Greta Gerwig, the film stars Saoirse Ronan as Jo March, Emma Watson as Meg, Florence Pugh as Amy, Eliza Scanlen as Beth, and Laura Dern as Marmee. Timothée Chalamet stars as Laurie, Chris Cooper is Mr. Laurence, and Meryl Streep as Aunt March.
The entire cast is stupendous. Ms. Ronan stands out in her tour de force performance as Jo, the independent writer, who refuses to marry, and is determined to make her own path. She unflinchingly remains true to herself, her family and her work as both a writer and a teacher.
The main difference between this adaptation and its predecessors is the stream of consciousness approach as the story moves between the present day March family, and the stories of growing up together. Parallels between the challenges when they were children and the struggles of adulthood weave together to tell their story both now and then. Gerwig and her team does a masterful job of storytelling to balance it all in a cohesive manner that holds the audience’s attention and intrigue, even if most viewers already know the original story.
To enhance the superb storytelling, the film’s cinematography and costume design, recreating 19th century New England, was a bright spot in this visually captivating film. I wouldn’t be surprised if this film was among the select few chosen for nominations in both categories at this year’s Oscars.
The wide release to audiences opens on Christmas day. I attended a pre-screening of the film courtesy of Sony Pictures.