OTTAWA’S CINEMA FOR INTERNATIONAL AND INDEPENDENT MOVIES

Little Women

Winner – 2019 Academy Awards for Best Costume Design

Louisa May Alcott’s source material may be 150 years old, but Greta Gerwig proves there are still fresh ways to look at it, brimming with ideas about happiness, economic realities, and pushing against society’s expectations.

Poster for Greta Gerwig's sensational adaptation of Little WomenThe rambunctious Jo, the iconoclast of the family, has always tended to be seen as the story’s driving force. But while Jo (Saoirse Ronan) is still central in this version, Amy (a marvelous Florence Pugh), the youngest and, traditionally, the least loved (by readers) of the four March sisters, is right alongside her. Their journeys, often at odds, get placed in counterpoint – their creative aspirations, their desire to see more of the world, and their respective clear-eyed assessments of the limitations put on them by society. But Little Women gives equal weight to the goals of Meg (Emma Watson), and Beth (Eliza Scanlen), as well as to the guidance of their kindhearted mother Marmee (Laura Dern) and haughty Aunt March (Meryl Streep).

Gerwig ingeniously wrangles Little Women’s conclusion into a gloriously satisfying ending, one that is a case of having one’s cake and eating it too, and, honestly, who could begrudge that?

– Alison Willmore, Vulture

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