Little Women is a heartfelt retelling of an American classic


Saoirse Ronan, Florence Pugh, Emma Watson, and Eliza Scanlen are four sisters who come of age in the aftermath of the Civil War in this period drama from Greta Gerwig (Lady Bird). 

As Amanda Jane Robinson writes, more than a dozen renditions of Louisa May Alcott’s 1868 novel have been put to screen, but it is Gerwig’s discreet, soulful adaptation that captures the warmth and spirit of the story.

Coming to cinemas nationwide January 2nd, you can catch advance previews around the country from December 13 (times and locations vary). 

Greta Gerwig’s Little Women follows struggling writer Jo March (Saiorse Ronan) as she reflects on her coming of age in the aftermath of the Civil War alongside her three sisters; Beth (Eliza Scanlen), Amy (Florence Pugh), and Meg (Emma Watson). Through a dual timeline, the film tells the story of the March sisters as teenagers, and as young adults.

Saoirse Ronan is vibrant as Jo, leaning into that ambitious, headstrong character she plays so well. Florence Pugh, too, is a standout as Amy, the pouty, capricious artist and bratty youngest sister. Laura Dern is lovely as the girls’ soft-spoken mother, and Meryl Streep is excellent as their wealthy, stroppy aunt. However, it was Timothée Chalamet’s performance as Laurie, the mischievous neighbour in the middle of a love triangle between Jo and Amy, that brought the most joy. The boy is just so charming!

A fitting follow-up to 2017’s Lady Bird, Little Women again draws on tumultuous familial relationships that, despite the bickering and grudges, are full of love. Gerwig never draws too much attention to her direction, consistently serving the characters and the story with every choice. More than a dozen renditions of Louisa May Alcott’s 1868 novel have been put to screen, but it is Gerwig’s discreet, soulful adaptation that captures the warmth and spirit of the story.

There is something to be said for a film that doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel, instead seeking to perfect that quiet formula of a comforting watch. In that vein, Little Women is a sweet tale of determination, tenderness and compassion—perfect for the whole family this holiday season.