I stan Greta Gerwig and I can write (and have written) lengthy diatribes about why Lady Bird is a brilliant movie, a tiny gem of a film about being a girl at a certain moment in time, and about complicated mother-daughter relationships and all of those female rites of passage that usually go unnoticed by mainstream films. Like, Lady Bird means that much to me. It’s brilliant. I was intrigued when Gerwig chose to adapt Little Women for the screen as her follow-up to Lady Bird. I was more intrigued by the choice of Saoirse Ronan as Jo March and Timothee Chalamet as Rich Boy Laurie. The first photos had me believing in the project, especially since it really looked like Gerwig got the Jo-Laurie relationship right. But now I’m having second thoughts about all of this, honestly. Behold, the first trailer:
I’ve watched this about four times, trying to figure out which parts bug me. I think one of the main problems I might have is that it feels too much like “From the Oscar-nominated Lady Bird, here’s Greta Gerwig’s Little Women,” when it should be “here’s Gerwig’s faithful adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women.” Gerwig might have inserted herself too much, but again, I’m just basing that theory on the trailer. It feels like Gerwig has modernized the language, plot and themes just a tad too much and made an adaptation for tweens and teens who have never read the book.
Other things I’d like to note… it feels like Gerwig is trying to make us like Amy March, played by Florence Pugh? And I’m like… Amy sucks, period, the end. Amy is not the heroine. Jo March was a modern literary heroine for her time, but there’s no need to go SO modern for her story. And Emma Watson’s Meg seems to be… um… well, better to say as little as possible. My nemesis Laura Dern plays Marmie and… it’s fine. It will be okay. Meryl Streep as Aunt March is basically the American version of Downton Abbey’s Dowager Countess now. And did you know James Norton plays Mr. Brook, Meg’s eventual husband? Hm. But Timothee is really selling Laurie.
Stills courtesy of ‘Little Women’.