Thursday, January 16, 2020

The stonking new adaptation of Little Women

When I first heard that there was a new film adaptation of Little Women, I thought 'Why do we need another adaptation? Haven't we got enough? The 1990s one with Winona Ryder was super, and that unusual one the BBC had on a couple of Christmases ago, that was good too. And different. Why on earth has someone decided to bring out another?'

But seeing all the plaudits for the Greta Gerwig adaptation, and loving Little Women as I do, I went to see what all the fuss was about. And I told you briefly on here, didn't I? Go! It's fabulous!

Now I've been again and love it just as much the second time around, and I could easily go and see it again next week if the circs were right.

So what's all the fuss about?

Greta G, who directed it as well as writing the screenplay has mined the writing of Louisa May Alcott and used her views to inform the script, which makes the film richer and deeper and more adult (No, no, I don't mean sexy. It's still a U.) 

It also means Jo's writing is central. The film begins with her selling her first story to a New York publisher, and running down the street in abandoned happiness afterwards. How well I remember that feeling. And the film ends with her cherishing her newly published first novel. I remember how that felt as well.

There are some new themes raised - the position of women in the 19th century, the economics of marriage, the sidelining of the work of women artists and writers. Don't reel back in horror. It's not preachy, and it fits completely. And there is all the original material in there as well: 'Christmas won't be Christmas without any presents' and the comment Amy makes when Jo cuts her hair off: 'Jo! Your one beauty!' 

One of the new bits that sticks in my mind is this speech from Jo near the end of the film:

"Women, they have minds, and they have souls, as well as just hearts. And they’ve got ambition, and they’ve got talent, as well as just beauty. I’m so sick of people saying that love is just all a woman is fit for. I’m so sick of it! But I'm so lonely."

And I cried three times in the film (always a good thing for me) and not just when Beth dies.

The film is long - two and a quarter hours - and yet it is very pacy and never drags. My only tiny misgiving is this: the film switches back and forth between different times in the story, so often and so rapidly, that I wonder if people who have never read the book or seen a film adaptation before will be able to follow the narrative arc.   What about all those men who have never read the book or seen a film of it? But then, will they even go and see it? A lot of them will dismiss it just because of the title. Poor saps.

My son-in-law, who goes to the cinema every week, and keeps up with the new releases, said he didn't fancy it. When I said how sad it is for all those men and boys who would never dream of going to see the film, he said wryly he felt sad for all the women (meaning me) who would never dream of going to see JokerTouché.

Sally commented on the blog last week that she loved the new film. I'd love to hear what the rest of you think if it.

Oooh, ooh, nearly forgot. The clothes are fabulous! I hope they rock the fashion world and boho stuff becomes more widely available. 


Sally said...

My husband came with me to see Little Women, persuaded by our daughter's assurance that, it's a great story well done. He's a sucker for a good story! Plus other positive reviews, including your own. As we sat down in the crowded auditorium he did ask if he was the only male present! I was able to point out two others. But, hey, he loved it! His only criticism, it was a tad long. I think it's a film for all. This week we're going to see '1917', I'll let you know how we get on. Sally Ps I agree the clothes are fabulous!

Sue Hepworth said...

Hi Sally, this is good to hear.
Having chatted on Twitter with Chris Smith, we wondered if the professor was too young. And my only criticism of the direction is that Jo's love for him when he came to visit her at home did not shine out to the viewer in the same way as it did to her family. But hey, that's nit picking.

Christine said...

Yes, the professor is too young and too attractive! Otherwise, terrific casting.

Sue Hepworth said...

I didn’t think he was attractive enough! My favourite Professor Bhaer was Gabriel Byrne. Older, and attractive.