Monday, January 20, 2020
I wondered how I would like the most recent version of Little Women. The cast was good, and the previews and what I heard from people I know sounded good, so Tim and I saw it while we were away for our anniversary.
I really liked it, and overall I think its my favorite version of this classic story. I really enjoyed the way the movie started with the girls grown up (Jo is in New York City and Amy in France), and goes back to tell the whole story. Its very well done, and I thought a very effective storytelling.
Saoirse Ronan is marvelous as Jo March. She really communicates Jo's struggle with wanting to be independent and write, and the scene with Marme in the attic talking about all of this, and sharing her loneliness is powerful. I liked that Professor Baer was not played as an old man, just older than Jo, too. I like how her whole family sends her after him to the train station, and in fact the sisters go with her in Amy and Laurie's carriage.
I was unfamiliar with Florence Pugh who plays Amy, but I thought she was excellent. She has a husky voice, which some people have said they didn't like for young Amy, but it didn't bother me. She plays Amy as a determined young woman. Amy realizes that the burden is on her to marry well to help the family, and she intends to do it.
When she sees Laurie in France, she is set to marry Fred Vaughn if he asks her. There is a scene where she is painting in a studio and talking with Laurie. She is explaining that she realizes she's no great artist, and that she must marry well. Laurie of course, falling in love with her doesn't want her to marry Fred Vaughn, but he hasn't made himself worthy of Amy yet. So he goes to grandfather to begin to work hard as a man, and not a spoiled boy. Amy is the making of Laurie into a man.
I didn't like Laura Dern as Marme. I thought she didn't play Marme as a dignified person. In one scene when Mr. Laurence comes to the house, she says "Don't mind our mess blah blah blah." Marme would never have had a mess. The girls were trained to keep a proper house, even if they didn't have money.
I will say too, that a later scene showing Marme working with the poor upset me. There is a free black woman working with her, and Marme says, "I've never been proud of my country." Hmmm, where have we heard that before?
(Which lead me to have a conversation with Tim later about why people can't be proud of their country while being critical of certain aspects of their country. I think a thinking person can recognize areas that their country has not done well, or has done very badly, but not assume those make up the whole country.)
I really loved the relationship between the sisters, and made me miss what I didn't have growing up. I did have four little women of my own though, and its been sweet to see them grow up and to see their relationships mature, as they become women.
The Little Women movie from 1994 will always have a place in my heart, but I do believe that overall this new one is my favorite.
What are your thoughts about the movie? Have you seen it yet?
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