After the success of Lady Bird, fans of Greta Gerwig were anticipating what her next project would be. When Little Women was announced, I did not know what to expect. I was hoping she would be involved with something a bit more feminist, but I was still hopeful. As the casting calls rolled in, I believe it was the mix of Emma Watson and Saorise Ronan that made me hopeful. Both being feminist icons of the millennial and Gen Z generation, who tend to pick projects well.
So we get 2019's Little Women - a movie that has been given a massive and brilliant feminist face lift.
The movie begins with Jo March (played by Ronan), negotiating with a publisher to get her story she has written, published! We are soon reminded how little power women had in the 1800's. The publisher demands that she write a story where if there is a woman in it, she needs to be married, in the end. This is just the beginning. The story explores the complex relationships between the 4 sisters (Meg, Jo, Amy and Beth), and does so by vividly displaying the frustrations that ambitious and talented women had, and how they were oppressed by the patriarchy. In so many moments from Jo and Amy, we see how women were viewed as powerless, without a man. We see how they struggled to own anything, and if they did, how marriage made whatever they owned, the property of men. While these girls struggle to take down the societal norms, they do their best by challenging what it is to be women, in the 19th century.
The performances are award worthy - Ronan, Watson, Florence Pugh lea the pack with remarkable turns, while Meryl Streep and Laura Dern give amazing turns as the adults in the film.
While period pieces like this can be quite boring and dragging, Greta Gerwig captivates and engages you. I was not once bored, and I was fully engrossed in the lives of the March women.
Give this film a go! I am happy that this was the first film I watched for 2020.