• E.M. Fitch

Little Women

Fully expecting to be hit with all the nostalgic feels, Little Women (the 2019 movie adaptation) met all my expectations and then some.

There has always been an undercurrent of longing saturating the character of Jo March, the writer who was told that morals wouldn't sell a story, the girl who never wanted to marry. She was a character who treasured her freedom, embraced her wild woman pieces, and eventually discovered the courage to write what she knows, finding--surprise, surprise--truth and vulnerability does sell, even when laced with morals.

Sarah Polley wrote this fantastic adaptation of Little Women, and it was executed skillfully by Greta Gerwig. The timeline shifted, a refreshing change from previous adaptations; and it was a bit disjointed in places, though that honestly felt like an homage to the novel, which always seemed a bit disjointed to me. But what I liked most of all is how beautifully they were able to showcase the excruciating longing of Jo March. Although always present through the adaptations--think of the marvelous Katherine Hepburn with hands clasped and wildly happy exclamations--it's never been so poignant than in the capable, ink-stained hands of Saoirse Ronan (who, truth be told, has been a long-time favorite actress of mine since her Hanna days).

Laced throughout the novel are all the truths I believe Louisa May Alcott always intended, but they've never been said so plainly. Little Women is about anger and frustration, inadequacy and disappointment. It's about squandered chances, women's rights, liberation, and freedom. This movie explores truth, and for the little girls who always felt that kinship with Jo March--the tomboys and dissenters; the women who wanted to make their own way, to hell with people who said they couldn't!--then this one's for you. Because as glorious as that all can be, you woman warriors might just come to a time where you also want to scream, "But I'm just so lonely!" and in that moment you'll know you're not truly alone. Jo March felt that too, and so have I, and so do many. And there will still exist kinship, friendship, community, purpose, and love.

Writers, tomboys, readers of all ages, do yourself a favor and see this movie.

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© 2016 E.M. Fitch

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