Movie Review: Little Women (2019)

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Summary: Four sisters come of age in America in the aftermath of the Civil War.
Um… this is a well-known story so there will be spoilers… but if you’ve never read the book or seen any of the previous movies, then I guess… I don’t know, it’s hard because this another adaptation…lol it’s up to you.
Pros:
Cast and Characters.
  • Saoirse Ronan as Josephine “Jo” March. Jo is the main heroine of our story. She is headstrong, passionate, stubborn and a writer. She is responsible for the plays the sisters put on for themselves and for the kids in their small town. She marches to the beat of her own drum. She loves her family fiercely and feels jealous and/or scared whenever she feels like something or someone is coming between her and her sisters. Like when Meg starts going off to parties or meeting men. She becomes fast friends with Laurie. She does at times laments being born a girl due to the restrictions placed on her, but she rages against the system anyway lol. We see her as a young woman and a teenager and her dreams are the same but she seems to struggle a bit more as an adult with her dreams because of the situation she finds herself in of trying to get her work bought to support her family but also trying to maintain her integrity of the kind of writer she wants to be. I feel that. The thing I always loved and identified with about Jo was she was a writer and was passionate about it. The only way someone could hurt her would be to destroy her work so when it happened, her anger and sadness, I got that. She wants to be in a world where her value as a woman, as a writer, a creator, is more important than being a wife or a mother. Saoirse Ronan was a great choice for Jo because she has the energy needed for someone so passionate and strong-willed. She had great chemistry with her sisters, and when she was angry at any of them for whatever reason, the looks she would give, as a sister, I was like “yep”, been there. Her friendship with Laurie was great and that is due to the chemistry she has with Chalamet and I believed in their friendship. I believed in her ambitions and her need to write, and I understood her slumps and Saoirse does such a great job in embodying her, that she might be my favorite portrayal of Jo thus far.
  • Emma Watson as Margaret “Meg” March. Meg is the oldest of the sisters and usually considered the “prettiest” and I think Emma Watson really does look beautiful in this film. The darker hair really suits her. Being that she’s the oldest, a lot of times the “motherly” duties fall to her, but she struggles a little because she wants to be had nice things, she doesn’t want to be poor for all her life, she wants to be a wife and a mother. She wants a family of her own. She has a great line to Jo “Just because my dreams are different than yours doesn’t make them any less important” and I thought that was a great line for her. It showed that while she may not be as independent as Jo, she knows what she wants in her life and that’s just as important as Jo’s independence. It was always an interesting addition to her that she wishes for the finer things in life but then falls in love with a poor man. It really goes to show you how love could be. I’ve always loved Emma Watson and I thought she was a great choice for Meg, because she has a youthful energy about her but also very poised which is what Meg is, which is why she can turn heads of young men. She and Saoirse have great chemistry since they seem close and I felt like she was the oldest sister in this unique group of sisters. There were a few times where her British accent came through, but she does a really good job at her American accent. It gets better every time I hear her do one. I love her, she’s great lol.
  • Florence Pugh as Amy March. So, at first, I was a little surprised that she played Amy as both an adult and a child. Usually, Amy is played by two actresses and maybe that’s the problem. I’ve seen reviews complain about her coming off awkward as young Amy, but I thought she embodied the bratty, spoiled and energetic personality that Amy has as a child really well. The only time I didn’t believe her was when she was crying after getting in trouble at school. That looked silly lol but otherwise, I believed her at both stages in Amy’s life. Honestly, she was the standout as well, which is a lot coming from me because Amy was always the sister, I liked the least. As an adult, which we get to see a lot of this version of Amy as well, she really is a proper lady, but she is outspoken and has a maturity and strength to her that she’s always had, but now that she’s older and has a bit more life experience, it’s clearer now. One of my favorite scenes is when she’s speaking to Laurie about him throwing away his life, and she talks about women’s role. It was a fantastic scene and she did it in such a subtle but clearly passionate way. She was great. I really like Florence Pugh, I like her a lot.
  • Eliza Scanlen as Elizabeth “Beth” March. I haven’t seen her in anything, but she was a great Beth. She was shy, compassionate and loving. I loved how much she loved others. She was sweet and had a great bond with her sisters and they were fiercely protective of her because of her shy nature, but she also didn’t take their strong personalities laying down. I really liked the relationship that she had with Mr. Laurence, even if all of it was not always them talking to each other. There was a mutual understanding between them, and I liked it. She was great.
  • Timothée Chalamet as Theodore “Laurie” Laurence. Laurie has always been one of my favorite male literary characters. I don’t know why lol, I think Christian Bale helped my love for him growing up and I think Timothée Chalamet was a great choice to play him. I really like Timothée Chalamet, there’s something delightfully tragic and romantic about him, I think it’s the eyes. But I like how quickly him, and Jo fall into a friendship and it’s clear he’s falling in love with her. I disagree that people who start out as best friends can’t at some point fall in love, in fact, I think that’s what usually happens at some point. It may not last forever, but someone has considered if their feelings were more romantic than platonic at some point. Anyway, he becomes so ingrained in the family and I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that he doesn’t have his parents, and the delightful chaos of the March women pulls him in. There’s a scene, after he helps Jo bring Meg (when she hurt her ankle) that he just stands off to the side and watches them fuss over each other and the look on his face shows it all. Later, when he’s an adult, he’s lost, clearly and just fumbles through life and I think Timothée Chalamet does a great job at the fun loving Laurie who falls in love with the March family, who falls in love with Jo, the Laurie who is fumbling through life and then the one who is getting his revelation later. I do think, for the older versions, his young face might throw you off lol, but I think he was a great choice.
Supporting Characters.
  • Laura Dern as Marmee March. I think she just the right amount of loving and selfless. She and Jo have a nice moment where she confesses seeing a lot of herself in Jo, which shocks her, but she says that she had a revelation which helped her in life. I think she works well as their mother, she may not always say what she’s feeling or thinking but you see it on her face. Laura Dern has a very expressive face. She’s great.
  • Meryl Streep as Aunt March. I mean, she’s Meryl Streep, you can’t go wrong with that lol. She’s a great Aunt March, perfectly funny, sassy and crotchety as Aunt March always is. While she doesn’t always come off as the most loving person, I think it’s clear she loves the girls, particularly Jo who might be the thorn in her side. She has some nuggets of wisdom as well. What can I say? Always great.
  • James Norton as John Brooke. His role is small but he’s likable as he always is, at least to me. He’s Laurie’s tutor and he becomes taken with Meg. I like how we get a few moments of them running into each other or interacting before they move forward with anything. I also like we get to see him and his family with their issues later. He’s just not forgotten about. I don’t think I’ve seen this actor in anything, but he has a recognizable face. He’s fine though, he’s sweet and that’s what matters for Mr. Brooke.
  • Louis Garrel as Friedrich Bhaer. We get introduced to him earlier on since the movie starts out with them as adults and Jo is in New York. He’s French and a Professor living in the boarding house with Jo. They kind of are friends but it’s a little awkward lol. He’s nice though. I don’t think he’s as old as he was supposed to be, but it works because while he physically might not be 40, he has an older/wiser soul and you can feel that.
  • Chris Cooper as Mr. Laurence. I almost didn’t recognize him until they showed a painting of younger Mr. Laurence lol, but he looks great with that beard. He’s Laurie’s grandfather and he also takes a liking to the March family, particularly Beth and I like the moments we get with the two of them, even if they’re not directly interacting with each other. I thought he was great. I wish we got to see him interact with Laurie more though.
Family Dynamic. I’ve always loved the March family because they’re different in their interests but they’re sisters and they love each other. The chaos in this movie of their everyday lives is amazing. I really enjoyed watching them bicker back and forth, talk over each other and just be. Whenever all four sisters were on screen together, it was great. They had chemistry and when Marmee was involved, it was nice as well. I think it really worked and it always matters how the March family works with each other and I really believed these ladies were a family. It reminded me of my family in how there’s energy and chaos, but they love each other, and it works.
Character Chemistry. Going along with the point above, the character chemistry in this movie is amazing. The March family’s chemistry is great, the sisters are great. Even when they’re angry with each other, it’s great. This is particularly noticeable in how Saoirse Ronan and Timothée Chalamet work with each other and the friendship that Jo and Laurie have. Ever since I was a little girl and I read the book, though I’m not sure if I ever read the whole book, I know I read the condensed version lol, I always was mad that Jo and Laurie didn’t end up together. I get Jo’s reasoning, always have, doesn’t mean I have to agree!! Anyway, they have great chemistry so their friendship is great, and you can clearly see the love that Laurie has for her during their younger years. Timothée Chalamet’s love eyes are noticeable lol. THEN what also works, which super annoys me, is the chemistry between Amy and Laurie. I never liked that they ended up together. Yes, Laurie says he always knew he would be part of the March family, but the fact it was Amy, always bugged me. She was my least favorite of the sisters and it seemed like he downgraded HOWEVER because they allowed more maturity from Amy, and we got to see more with her and Florence Pugh was so charismatic and likable as Amy, I found that I was annoyingly okay with their marriage. Meg and John Brooks work as well, even Beth and Mr. Lawrence have nice moments together. The script is great, but the acting really works.
Cinematography. I think this movie is beautiful! Because this movie isn’t told linearly, the way the film tells you as it moves forward, when scenes are. It’s because of the color palette. When it’s the past, the colors are brighter and when it’s the present, then it’s a bit softer in color. It’s noticeable I think, and it helped me from getting confused of the timeline. Plus, I know the story so that helped too lol. But the movie is beautiful.
Emotionally Beautiful. I think I cried like 5 times in the film. I don’t know if it’s because I’m just emotional right now, but I cried. I don’t think I’ve ever cried past Beth death. I think I even cried during Laurie and Jo’s argument scene when she rejects him. I think I also cried when she finds out later that Laurie married Amy. I cried during Jo’s scene with her mother.

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

-Jo March (Little Women 2019)

It’s such a beautiful monologue and Saoirse Ronan performs it perfectly. I felt that because even though it’s 2019 almost 2020 this is still something that people think of women. I’m sick of it! She’s talking about being independent but there’s so much pressure on women in being mothers and wives and she hates it but she’s lonely. I felt that entire scene. I was in tears. I’ve always identified with Jo and I think I really identified with her the most in this film. I’m not sure why, perhaps it’s because she’s more outspoken about romance and how she feels about women and their place in the world and I’m an adult now, so her personality and roles hit me more. But she gives this speech to Marmee and I felt all of that and I identified with that that it made me cry.
Storytelling. This movie is not told in order. I was a little unsure about this at first but as the movie went on, I became increasingly okay with it. When we first start, it’s in the present with Jo in New York, we’ll see her life there, trying to get her work published in newspapers and we even meet the Professor. I was shocked because all of this happens later in the story.
Costumes! I do really love period pieces because I love the clothes. Jacqueline Durran (Atonement, Beauty and the Beast, Anna Karenina, Pride & Prejudice) does the costume design in this film and I love all the clothes. I particularly love the blue dress we first see Amy in as an adult and the pink dress Meg wears (pictured below). Timothée Chalamet has some nice pieces as Laurie too, I’ve never realized how tall and lanky he is until watching him in these clothes lol, but he wears them well. I also really loved Amy’s white and black ensemble when she and Laurie have their “fight” outside. They’re just beautiful and the lighting really compliments the clothing.

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Cons:
It’s not Linear. This didn’t particularly bother me as the film went on, I was a little shocked it was going to do this at first. I can imagine people not liking that though. I can imagine the shifts being a bit too subtle and viewers complaining about it. I’ve already seen someone complain about it online, so I wanted to put it here, to show that I noticed and at first, I was unsure about that choice.
Overall, I looooved this movie. I really did. I love Little Women in general but I really loved this adaptation. There was something refreshing about it and I thought Greta Gerwig did a great job in adapting it for a new audience. The casting was spot on with Saoirse Ronan and Florence Pugh being standouts respectively. Everyone had wonderful chemistry while working together, I believed in their familial ties, friendships and romances respectively. It’s emotionally beautiful, so don’t be surprised if you cry. A lot. It has amazing cinematography; the colors help emphasize the time period and it helps bring out the colors in the amazing costumes. I also like how the story is told, it’s not linear which works just fine for me. My only problem was with the fact it wasn’t linear but it’s not a personal problem, just something I’m acknowledging for those who might dislike that. But in the end, I really loved this movie.
Rating: 4.7 out of 5 stars.
Have you seen Little Women? What are your thoughts on this timeless classic? Which adaptation is your favorite? Let me know in the comments below!
Thanks for reading and be sure to keep an eye out for more Movie Reviews and other content!

Movie Review: Lady Bird (2017)

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Summary: In the early 2000s, an artistically inclined seventeen year-old comes of age in Sacramento, California.
Pros:
Cast and Characters. I think this movie is filled with colorful characters. I think all of the cast is very good in this movie. I can’t say much about the characters without giving the movie away so I’ll do my best.
  • Saoirse Ronan as Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson. I always have to look up to see how old Saoirse Ronan is because I swear she’s been around forever but she’s only 23. She calls herself Lady Bird, and she’s a senior at a Catholic school. She wants to leave Sacramento and go to school on the East Coast. I wouldn’t say she’s particularly cynical but she does give off that feeling but at the same time, she feels like a dreamer. It’s interesting really, and it makes sense as she’s a teenager. LB deals with boys, with the whole thing of growing up, getting a job, learning about adulthood from her parents, and having to figure it out on her own. She is a strong and realistic character. I think Saoirse Ronan was great! Her delivery of this dialogue is perfect, she’s really funny but she’s also so emotional. Wow. The look from her eyes alone that shows she’s angry, or sad… the airport scene… watching her eyes was fantastic. She’s great.
  • Laurie Metcalf as Marion McPherson. First of all, she’s ANDY’S MOM FROM TOY STORY! I knew she sounded familiar. But she has a lot going on. She works in a clinic I believe, and she also works over the finances as she’s always talking about it. Marion seems to be unhappy with a lot and she’s a bit mean and negative towards her family, “bit” is an overstatement. Maybe she didn’t have a great life growing up, she does reference some of her history, which I think says a lot about how she is as an adult. I think Laurie Metcalf was great, she is sympathetic but at the same time you kind of want to hate her and you just might but it feels realistic.
Supporting Characters.
  • Lucas Hedges as Danny O’Neill. Danny is a student at Lady Bird’s school and Lady Bird first sees him at his audition for the school musical. She is immediately drawn to him. He is a good kid. He’s a bit… I don’t know, odd? But he’s sweet. He and Lady Bird have a relationship and he’s so happy… but he has his own problems that causes some issues but I think for this time period, his reaction was realistic. I remember Lucas Hedges in Manchester by the Sea and I thought he was great in that film and while his role is a small one, I think he plays Danny to be quite memorable. His first scene with Lady Bird alone was a great scene.
  • Beanie Feldstein as Julianne “Julie” Steffans. Julie is Lady Bird’s best friend, she seems to be the “happy” friend compared to Lady Bird who is a bit more… all over the place. She is smart and talented where she gets a lot of recognition and it creates some interesting conversations. I thought she was sweet and of course like a lot of coming of age movies, she does get pushed to the back burner by her best friend but she’s a true friend. I’ve never seen Beanie Feldstein in anything, but she’s likable in her role and she even has some emotional moments where you understand it from her viewpoint.
  • Tracy Letts as Larry McPherson. Lady Bird’s father. He’s a bit closer to her than her mom is. He works with her on her secrets, with secrets of his own, but he’s supportive for the most part. He has great fatherly moments with Lady Bird.
  • Timothee Chalamet as Kyle Scheible. LB first sees him while he’s performing with his band, well at least this is the first time she looks at him and think he’s cute. He’s that mysterious type, plays an instrument, reads a lot (I think the same book though), and always talking about how he’s against the system etc. He’s a cutie and it’s easy to see where his role goes with LB. The young actor though is good in his role.
There are many other characters as well, a lot of students that Lady Bird comes into contact with, most especially Odeya Rush as Jenna Walton and the professors such as Jake McDorman as Mr. Bruno, Stephen Henderson as Father Leviatch, and Lois Smith as Sister Sarah Joan. All of the acting is top-notch.
The Music. Jon Brion composes the music in this film and I think it has a subtle beauty to it. The film is set in the early 2000s, I think 2002, and the music fits. There’s even a bit of Justin Timberlake’s “Cry Me A River” during a party. But during emotional points, the music is very emotional and soft. I also love how towards the end, it swells but it doesn’t overpower the film.
The Time Period. This film is very much a coming of age film and I think it works so perfectly in this time period. It has this perfect balance of feeling “dated” but also feeling “fresh” and “up to date”. It’s easy to tell that it’s not a film set in the present but the issues swirling in this movie, with the family, within Lady Bird herself, is timeless. It has a timeless feel to it which just fits the movie.
The Story. This is at its core a “coming of age” story and it’s beautiful. Christine calls herself “Lady Bird” and she is determined for people to call her that as well. She has a strained relationship with her parents, her relationship with her father is stronger than the other with her mother but it’s easy to tell that there is a bit of strain there too. But it’s the relationship between Lady Bird and her mom where this film really gets involved. The entire family seems to have strain. Lady Bird has her father drop her off a block from school, she argues constantly with her brother (who I’m assuming is adopted), and her relationship with her mother is a roller coaster where at times they seem to get along but then someone says something and it turns into an argument. A perfect example of this is the scene in the thrift shop with how they’re arguing and it immediately switches to them agreeing. It was great. The film also deals with Lady Bird’s want to go to college away from home, far away and her struggle with how to deal with that. She has a best friend in Julie and it seems that they have a hiccup as well. There are also boys. This film hits every note really and it does it in a way that doesn’t feel cliché but has a natural flow. It shows that scariness of leaving childhood and going into adulthood.
Quirky/Great Dialogue. This is definitely a quirky movie. The dialogue is smart, funny but it’s not over the top. The situations are the same, everything that happens feel like it could happen and I’m sure have happened to some people. Lady Bird’s problems are things that teenagers have to face growing up, but the movie doesn’t make her look overly stupid, overly emotional or make it “too smart” where some people can’t enjoy it. It kind of has a Wes Anderson feel sometimes but this is Greta Gerwig’s directorial debut and she also wrote the film. It’s great. The movie also has great dialogue. You know how there are times when stories written for teenagers make them sound older than what they are, make them sound pretentious or they’re trying to sound quirky? This movie doesn’t do that. The dialogue is funny, is holds weight and it’s just so good.
The Emotional Weight. This movie is emotional, but it’s not “hit you over the head” emotional nor does it feel like I’m being manipulated into being emotional. Anyone could pick a plot point out of the movie and connect with it. This movie had me in tears throughout. It wasn’t consistently emotional but there were many times where I just sat there in tears. Every scene with her mother is emotional in some way but there are three or four scenes in particular that I thought were the best scenes in the movie.
  • The Prom Dress Scene. Just the conversation between Lady Bird and her mom while shopping for a wedding dress. I think many daughters and mother’s have this conversation and it’s very interesting to see just how negative her mom is or can be, even without trying to.
  • The Kitchen Scene. This happens before the airport scene but Lady’s Bird mom finds out about something and Lady Bird is talking to her in the kitchen and it’s a lot. It’s a beautiful, gut-punching, heart wrenching scene.
  • The Airport Scene. This scene is mostly quiet, it’s just Lady Bird, her mom and dad drying in the car and her mom is not speaking to her after a decision Lady Bird made. So I won’t go any further, but seeing the emotions on Lady Bird’s face when she sees that her mother won’t even look at her, and then later the emotions that move across her mother’s face. Oh man, I was in tears.
  • The Ending. It’s literally like a narration and some quiet scenes… beautiful.
Cons:
Random Side Plots. There isn’t a lot of this going on but one most notably, I thought was weird, but it doesn’t affect the movie really, I just wanted to comment on it, was that there is a storyline with Father Leviatch and we don’t really know what’s going on and I think that’s fine. But later, there’s a scene between him and Mrs. McPherson that I thought was random as nothing happens afterwards. We never hear about it again and I just thought it was strange that it was even in the movie.
Overall, I loved this movie. It’s perfect. I don’t have any problem with it minus that one thing that doesn’t affect the movie at all. I think all of the acting is superb by everyone in this movie, even the supporting (minor) characters. Saoirse Ronan is a strong lead in this film and her mother Laurie Metcalf is fantastic right alongside her. The music fits the film with its subtle nature, the story line is a true story, that doesn’t try to be more than what it is, but it also feels authentic and real. This movie is fantastic.
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars. 
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Have you seen Lady Bird? Are you interested? No? You should be.
Answer my question: What is your favorite coming of age film? 
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