I thought I’d kick 2020 off with a movie review. Here in Australia we are in the middle of summer and going taking shelter in a cool, air-conditioned cinema is one of the best ways to pass the hot days.
We are having more than just hot days right now though. Australia is currently experiencing severe bush fires, affecting thousands of people ranging from constant smoky skies to burnt settlements, evacuated towns, thousands of animals killed and millions of acres of bushland burnt out and it’s still going. Prayers for our nation would be much appreciated.
I have loved the novel Little Women by Louisa May Alcott since I was a young girl. Jo March is one of my literary heroes. The first adaption I watched was the 1949 Little Women, starring June Allyson and Peter Lawford. It has been the gold standard for me in terms of movie adaptions of the novel. June Allyson is perfectly cast as Jo March.
So every time I see another adaption, I inevitably compare it to that 1949 version. The 2019 adaption is worthy of high praise. It is very clear that the director, Greta Gerwig, loves the novel. She has included all my favorite parts of the book and brought them to life – Amy drawing the caricature of her teacher, Beth playing the piano at Mr. Lawrence’s house, Amy obsessing about her nose, Meg at the ball, Jo cutting her hair and the girl’s camaraderie in general, plus too many others to name!
It is a movie that captures the spirit and heart of the book while adding some modern ideas that it doesn’t detract from the experience. The end of the movie is a new addition and as a writer, I could not help but love it.
The girls we well cast, I thought. I find it hard to get a good Jo and Saoirse Ronan did a great job. She captured the playful, spirited, tomboy that is Jo’s trademark with the go-get -it attitude that Jo puts into everything. It was lovely to see.
Final thoughts on the never-ending debate about whether Jo should have married Laurie. I swing between the debate, really. I enjoy watching how each film adaption interprets this part of the novel. This version had closure on all sides, with everyone living happily ever after. It was a fitting end to a beautiful and timeless story.
What did you think of the movie? If you haven’t seen it, will you go and watch it?