I haven’t seen a movie or TV adaptation of Little Women since I watched the 1949 version of Little Women (1949). I went into the 2019 version with mixed expectations. On the one hand, given who I knew was in the cast, I expected great things. On the other hand, I wondered how similar the two movies would be, or how much they would deviate from each other.
After watching this version, I’d say you can’t really compare the two. Each comes with its own charms. I also can’t say which one I love more. In either case (or even in the book), I always wished Jo would have ended up with Laurie. Especially in the way the pair were portrayed in both adaptations, I’ve always felt there was an undeniable chemistry between the two characters. Alas, they end up like two ships passing through the night. Reminds me of that one moment, in My Best Friend’s Wedding (1997), when Julia Roberts’ and Dermot Mulroney’s characters pause for a moment while they’re on that boat, just before they pass under that bridge. That moment where it seems like the wedding could be called off, and the best friends could have gotten together instead:
Michael O’Neill (Dermot Mulroney’s character): Kimmy says if you love someone you say it, you say it right then, out loud. Otherwise, the moment just…
Julianne Potter (Julia Roberts’ character): Passes you by.
Michael O’Neill: Passes you by. Yeah.Quote from IMDb.
Anyway, back to Little Women. The cinematography was great, in my opinion. It had this indie-ish feel, to me, which I appreciated. I also liked how evenly you got to see each sister’s story unfold. I felt equally invested in each sister’s storyline. In general, I never liked Amy’s character, despite appreciating Florence Pugh’s portrayal of her. (I was totally surprised by how similar she looked to Chloë Grace Moretz in the film.)
Eliza Scanlen definitely made me tear up with her portrayal of Beth March. In some ways, I felt like Beth was the cherished sister among the sisterhood. On that note, I think that each actress playing the March sisters did a wonderful job convincing me they were sisters, despite being very different personalities and looks from one another.
For those of you out there big on strong, independent women themes, you will likely adore Saoirse Ronan’s Jo March. Me, personally, I just loved her because I’ve always loved the character of Jo March, and I also really like Saoirse Ronan as an actress.
If you enjoy seeing classic books being adapted to the big screen, or if you’re a huge sentimentalist, I think you would enjoy this movie. Also, if you don’t mind films going back and forth between past and present, sometimes at a rather quick or abrupt pace. If not, then this film might not be one for you.