Writer-director Greta Gerwig (Lady Bird) has crafted a Little Women that draws on both the classic novel and the writings of Louisa May Alcott, and unfolds as the author’s alter ego, Jo March, reflects back and forth on her fictional life.
little women book ending – Introducing Our Little Women Libraries!
1. Louisa May Alcott didn’t want to write Little Women. One of the strongest themes of Little Women, and of all of Alcott’s work for young people, is the importance of financial independence and responsibility. Alcott was a hard worker, and she was the primary support for her family for much of her life. She had no patience with those who were unwilling to try to support themselves, or with those who—lucky enough to be born wealthy—do not have a philanthropic spirit and the good sense to use their money wisely.
Youths ages 8 ~ 12 are invited to enjoy uniquely entertaining and educational morning programs filled with favorite activities of Louisa May Alcott and her sisters – the real-life inspiration for Meg,” Jo,” Beth,” and Amy” in Little Women.
Books were so dear to the March sisters. By partnering with the Little Free Library organization, Little Women is improving book access for all—a key tenet of the Little Free Library organization. There are more than 90,000 registered Little Free Library book-sharing boxes in all 50 states and in 91 countries. Through them, more than 120 million books have been shared.
Watching Little Women has been a joy. It has made me think hard about myself, my place in the world and my relationships with my family. It has also forced me to consider the inherent privilege of representation, of how lucky I am to have grown up seeing people like me in movies and books, and to still have figures like Jo to turn to, as an adult. The simple fact that I happened to be born into this body, with this skin color, in this particular place has afforded me the privilege of finding kinship and inspiration in compelling fictional characters like Jo March.
Produced nationally and internationally, Little Women has been praised by critics for its ambition in adapting such a well-known story for the stage. This timeless, captivating story is brought to life in this glorious musical filled with personal discovery, heartache, hope and everlasting love. The original production starred the unparalleled Sutton Foster, who received Tony, Outer Critics Circle and Drama Desk nominations for her performance.
John Horn , host of KPCC’s The Frame; Anne Boyd Rioux , author of “Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy: The Story of Little Women and Why It Still Matters;” and Rachel Handler , staff writer at Vulture join for this meeting of the 1A Movie Club.
Commentary: The Lady Bird director crafts the definitive version of Louisa May Alcott’s classic tale. I think ‘Little Women’ is always a secretly subversive story,” Amy Pascal, a producer on the film, said in an interview. Greta Gerwig cut my favorite moment from Little Women.
But it is the film’s ending, at least for me, that was the most satisfying. In it, the character Jo (or is it Alcott? Part of the brilliance of Gerwig’s interpretation is that she melds the two women) gets the satisfaction of watching her book be born” — its pages bound and leather stamped by the printer. We also see her negotiate to retain the copyright to her work — something Alcott did in real life, allowing her to support her family for years to come.
Gerwig begins the film with Jo’s sale of a story to a publisher, and in general chops up the structure of the narrative to emphasize the adult progress of Jo and Amy in particular, who are turned into rivals for boy-next-door Theodore Laurie’s affections and for artistic achievement in a way the book never emphasized. But no one who cares about Little Women wants to see their adulthoods stressed over their childhoods.
In the small town of Concord , Massachusetts , during the Civil War , the March sisters—Meg ( Janet Leigh ), Jo ( June Allyson ), Amy ( Elizabeth Taylor ), and Beth ( Margaret ‘Brien )—live with their mother in a state of genteel poverty, their father having lost the family’s fortune to an unscrupulous businessman several years earlier. While Mr. March ( Leon Ames ) serves in the Union Army, Mrs. March ( Mary Astor ), affectionately referred to as “Marmee” by her daughters, holds the family together and teaches the girls the importance of giving to those less fortunate than themselves, especially during the upcoming Christmas season. Although the spoiled and vain Amy often bemoans the family’s lack of material wealth and social status, Jo, an aspiring writer, keeps everyone entertained with her stories and plays, while the youngest March daughter, the shy and sensitive Beth, accompanies Jo’s productions on an out-of-tune piano.
Together they’re the March sisters. Their father is away at war and times are difficult, but the bond between the sisters is strong. Through sisterly squabbles, happy times and sad, their four lives follow different paths, and that discover the growing up is sometimes very hard to do.
Gerwig also makes sure that Meg, whose story often fades into a blissful watercolor domesticity, is allowed to share her key lesson of financial responsibility. Out shopping with a rich friend, she succumbs to a moment of vanity and spends an unthinkable $50 on the fabric for a silk dress. Her impulsive purchase means that her husband cannot afford to buy himself a winter coat, and Meg is brought face to face with the conflict between her love for pretty things and her love for her husband. She sells the silk to a friend, and her husband gets his coat. It’s a quiet moment, with nothing like the fireworks of Amy’s speech about women and property, but it’s a fine example of the kind of personal responsibility that the March sisters have practiced their whole lives—even when it takes them a few mistakes to get it right.
For a century and a half, it has been possible to ask nearly any American girl or woman, “Are you Meg, Jo, Beth, or Amy?” and receive an unhesitating reply. If the joyful reactions of my 11- and 14-year-old daughters to Greta Gerwig’s new film of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women are any evidence, we will be able to ask the question for a good while longer.
Loved this version, it was a fantastic adaptation, Its one of my favourite books, and this does not disappoint. The only thing I might possibly change is that Laurie sounds too old. But otherwise loved it. From left: Amy (Florence Pugh), Jo (Ronan), and Meg (Emma Watson) in Little Women.
In addition to a 1958 TV series, multiple Broadway plays, a musical, a ballet, and an opera, Little Women has been made into more than a half-dozen movies. The most famous are the 1933 version starring Katharine Hepburn, the 1949 version starring June Allyson (with Elizabeth Taylor as Amy), and the 1994 version starring Winona Ryder. It’s also been adapted for the small screen a number of times, most recently in 2018 for PBS’s Masterpiece , by Call the Midwife creator Heidi Thomas. Oscar nominee Greta Gerwig’s version of the story, which will star Saoirse Ronan as Jo and Timothée Chalamet as Laurie, will arrive in theaters on Christmas Day 2019.
The movie also went overboard by making one particular love-triangle relationship much more complicated than it needed to be. Laurie had originally proposed to Jo, who turned him down. Then, years later, he ran into Amy in France, and they later got married. Instead of leaving the situation sensible, the movie goes on to show a frantic Jo deliberating with her mother about whether or not rejecting Laurie’s proposal was the right thing. After the discussion, Jo ultimately writes a letter to Laurie, accepting his proposal when he’s already gotten together with Amy (albeit unbeknownst to Jo). The entire situation was nonsensical, and too much time was spent dealing with it rather than developing actual relationships between Jo and Bhaer and Amy and Laurie.
Writer-director Greta Gerwig (Lady Bird) has crafted a Little Women that draws on both the classic novel and the writings of Louisa May Alcott and unfolds as the author’s alter ego, Jo March reflects back and forth on her fictional life. In Gerwig’s take, the beloved story of the March sisters – four young women each determined to live life on her own terms – is both timeless and timely. Portraying Jo, Meg, Amy, and Beth March, the film stars Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, Florence Pugh, Eliza Scanlen, with Timothee Chalamet as their neighbor Laurie, Laura Dern as Marmee, and Meryl Streep as Aunt March.
A few years ago, Gerwig was a promising young actor with a quirky style that suggested a career in independent comedy – a bit Judy Holliday, a bit Diane Keaton – but she was also a writer. She co-wrote the delightful Frances Ha (2012) with Noah Baumbach, with whom she is now partnered. In 2017 she wrote and directed Lady Bird, based on her own experience growing up in California. Ronan played the lead in that film too. Two actors from that cast appear here – Tracy Letts plays Mr Dashwood, and Timothee Chalamet plays “Laurie” Laurence, the young man torn between Jo (Ronan) and younger sister Amy (Florence Pugh). Emma Watson plays the elder sister Meg, in the film’s only unconvincing casting. Eliza Scanlen plays Beth, the peacemaker among the combative March girls. Meryl Streep steals all that she surveys as the crusty old Aunt March, whose advice is that women must marry well – unless they’re rich, like her.
The heart of the narrative is their childhoods, when in their fun and fights and difficulties and home-made entertainments they forge a unique bond peculiar to themselves. Gerwig never establishes it strongly enough to make clear how lonely neighbor boy Laurie longs to join the March family, or to convey the reason for Jo’s torment when Meg’s marriage breaks up the unity of the sisters.
As I was watching director Greta Gerwig’s glorious adaptation of Little Women,” which is nominated for six Oscars, I kept thinking, was that part in the book? Was that part in the book? The story of the March sisters and their mother, Marmee, was familiar to me, but the film felt like a revelation.
The end of Little Women sees its heroine, tomboyish and ambitious Jo, married off to the pointedly unromantic Friedrich Bhaer, a middle-aged and unattractive German professor who disapproves of the sensational stories she writes. And the character readers expect Jo to end up with, her charming best friend Laurie, marries Jo’s least favorite sister Amy instead.
The mingled dignity and ferocity of that speech forces the audience to respect Pugh’s Amy, even those who read her as a quasi-villain. (I will admit that I have always been an apologist for Alcott’s Amy, but judging from the amount of scandalized Really???”s this statement is usually greeted with, that is a minority opinion.) And when Amy chastises Laurie for courting her, telling him through tears that she has been second-best to Jo for her whole life, the scene feels redemptive. It becomes possible to read the match between Amy and Laurie as meaningful for both Amy and Laurie in their own rights, rather than a case of Alcott pairing the spares just to keep Laurie thoroughly unavailable to Jo.
It’s Little Women’s first half that its most iconic images come from. It’s where we get Jo burning Meg’s hair, Meg spraining her ankle in too-tight shoes, Amy burning Jo’s manuscript and a vengeful Jo almost leaving Amy to drown, Beth embracing stern Mr. Laurence after he gives her a piano. Loving Little Women means loving these moments, luxuriating in them, and resigning oneself to the idea of leaving them behind.
Celebrate “Love’s Own Day” on February 8th during this interactive, intergenerational program featuring a guided tour of Orchard House with a Living History portrayer sharing anecdotes about friendship, love, and marriage from the Alcotts’ own journal and letters, 19th C. crafts, and refreshments.
Writer-director Greta Gerwig (Lady Bird) has crafted a Little Women that draws on both the classic novel and the writings of Louisa May Alcott, and unfolds as the author’s alter ego, Jo March, reflects back and forth on her fictional life. In Gerwig’s take, the beloved story of the March sisters – four young women each determined to live life on her own terms – is both timeless and timely.
Jo returns to see Dashwood at the end of the film, having written what we now know as Little Women. His advice that she should have the fictional Jo get married, taken from Alcott’s publishing experience, allows Gerwig to create a resolution that is at once swoonily romantic and aware of its over-the-top romanticism.
The Mendes movie’s clearest antecedents are Saving Private Ryan and Mel Gibson’s Apocalypto. From Private Ryan Mendes takes the idea of using a small family-driven mission to illuminate and focus a grander military campaign: His tale of the trenches sends two British corporals, Blake (Dean-Charles Chapman) and Scofield (George MacKay), on a mission into no-man’s-land to warn an advancing regiment, cut off from telephone communication, that aerial surveillance has shown they’re heading into a trap — with the twist being that the imperiled regiment includes Blake’s own brother. From Gibson’s pounding there-and-back-again story, meanwhile, Mendes takes the idea of constant movement, and stripped-down, against-the-clock racing, as the way to tell his story, with everything inessential pared away.
Generations of readers young and old, male and female, have fallen in love with the March sisters of Louisa May Alcott’s most popular and enduring novel, Little Women. Here are talented tomboy and author-to-be Jo, tragically frail Beth, beautiful Meg, and romantic, spoiled Amy, united in their devotion to each other and their struggles to survive in New England during the Generations of readers young and old, male and female, have fallen in love with the March sisters of Louisa May Alcott’s most popular and enduring novel, Little Women. Here are talented tomboy and author-to-be Jo, tragically frail Beth, beautiful Meg, and romantic, spoiled Amy, united in their devotion to each other and their struggles to survive in New England during the Civil War.
Little Women is a bit too long, especially given its nonlinear storytelling but there is something glorious about it as well. It’s a refreshing old fashioned movie experience, a rarity today. Gerwig’s Little Women” is not a rehash of previous adaptations, but neither is it a clumsy, heavy-handed modernization.
Regrettably, not every movie in this semi-reactionary renaissance is actually good. Martin Scorsese’s much-nominated The Irishman was doomed by its terrible, CGI-enabled lead performance, while the even-more-nominated Joker is fascinating mostly for what the culture has read into it, since on its own it’s just a comic-book homage to better Scorsese movies from the past.
Greta Gerwig’s new adaptation of Little Women , both respectful and invigorating, is her own inscription to a new generation, a reimagining that reaches out to young people making their way in the world today even as it’s true to the manner in which Alcott herself—a woman writer in a field ruled by men—had to push her way forward. Saoirse Ronan plays the story’s heroine, aspiring writer and all-around firecracker Jo March, the second-oldest daughter in a family of New England sisters circa the mid-1860s. The girls’ mother, Marmee (Laura Dern, in a performance as warm as a hearth), holds the family together while the patriarch is away, fighting in the Civil War. He’ll come back, eventually, played with spirited tenderness by Bob Odenkirk. But as much as Mr. March loves his girls, he’ll always be an outsider in this world of women—a truth that fathers of all-girl families (and lone brothers, too) know too well.
Under such circumstances, there is no way for the novel’s climactic marriages to read as purely romantic. They are, as Greta Gerwig’s Little Women would put it, economic propositions: maybe not entirely, maybe not first and foremost, but certainly inextricably. Pretending that they truly are pure love matches, as Alcott’s narrator does, will always feel a little dishonest and perverse.
Film critic Lisa Nesselson speaks to Eve Jackson about the week’s film news, including the adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s 1868 classic novel “Little Women”, directed by actress-turned-director Greta Gerwig. They also discuss Bill Condon’s “The Good Liar”, starring Ian McKellen and Helen Mirren; Abel Ferrara’s “Tommaso,” with Willem Dafoe; and the documentary “Cunningham”, about the accomplishments of a true artistic pioneer who expressed himself through movement until his death at 90 after a 70-year career.
Greta Gerwig’s wonderous adaptation cuts through the novel’s moralistic surface to mine the themes beneath: feminism, creativity, independence and individuality. Without sacrificing any of the story’s period charm or authenticity, she adds a contemporary feel that can appeal to the book’s devoted fans and its sceptics alike. The performances are dynamic, notably those by Saoirse Ronan as the fiery Jo, Florence Pugh as the underestimated Amy, and Laura Dern as their wise mother, Marmee. And the film looks glorious. Wryly knowing and deeply emotional, it is a triumph.
Greta Gerwig loves the book Little Women. You know this in your bones when you watch her new film adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s classic 19th century accomplish the Herculean effort of creating a Little Women” that is both a wildly innovative take for modern audiences and deeply true to the beloved characters, you have to love this story. Luckily for us, Gerwig does, and her exploration of the four March sisters’ tale is nothing short of a masterpiece.