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Little Women - Film Review

Sony Pictures

by Emilia Ippolito

Little Women belongs to the literary classics a lot of readers and viewers are fond of : Louisa May Alcott has delighted generations of readers with her well written story of the four March sisters during and after the American Civil War

The March are honest, sociable, religious and very American.

This is Greta Gerwig’s - whose latest Lady Bird received several awards - adaptation of a worldwide appreciated novel. Now I have to say Gerwig’s version is more than disappointing. Scriptwise she has randomly kept a few lines from the original text, cruising on its surface as far as characterisation, action and direction are concerned

The cast has excellent stars: Emma Watson (the eldest Meg), Saoirse Ronan (compulsive writer and rebellious Jo), Florence Pugh (bourgeoise Amy), Eliza Scanlen (youngest and most vulnerable Beth), most unconvincing and feeble Timothée Chalamet (aristocratic wealthy neighbour Laurie), Laura Dern (Mrs March), Bob Odenkirch (Mr March, a priest), the fabulous Meryl Streep (wealthy single aunt March, in too small a role that reminds us of her performance as Priscilla Priestley), James Norton (Meg’s husband Brooke) and Louis Garrel ( Professor Friedrich and finally Jo’s husband), however, characterisation, acting and direction are superficial and unsatisfactory

For example, the casting is very good as far as individuals are concerned, however it is not always true to character : Professor Friedrich Baehr for example, of German origins, played by Garel with his French accent is out of place : the supposedly love scene between him and Jo sounds and looks fake and superficial

The same goes for most of the film, unfortunately

Watching it and repeatedly looking at my watch to check how much longer it would take to the end, I was actually missing the marvellous rendition by LeRoy’s 1949 black and white version starring Liz Taylor as the vain material Amy, Janet Leigh as Meg, June Allyson as rebellious Jo, Margaret O’Brien as Beth, Rossano Brazzi as Professor Baehr and Lucile Watson as marvellous Aunt March. LeRoy had fully understood Alcott’s text, giving it the right pace and the most appropriate cast.

What a shame Gerwig did not succeed in either; this film is certainty not worth an Oscar nomination. We should cry foul if it receives one


About Emilia Ippolito