In a year filled with movies about men looking back on their lives in regret, "Little Women" stands out.
Director Greta Gerwig's second film is remarkable and makes a book — written over 150 years ago — feel relevant to today's world.
"Little Women" follows the March sisters: Meg, Jo, Amy and Beth. Each one has a talent they want to pursue. Meg is an aspiring actress; Jo wants to write the next great American novel; Amy wants to become the next world renowned artist; and Beth uses her musical talents to keep the family and others afloat.
We spend most of our time with Jo (Saorise Ronan) and Amy (Florence Pugh) in the film. Meg (Emma Watson) and Beth (Eliza Scanlen) still have plenty of screen time, but Jo and Amy's journey is what makes this film thought provoking and relevant in today's world.
Jo is a no-nonsense, but sometimes silly, writer who speaks with confidence when others try to bring her down. Amy tries to live up to her older sisters and takes on the responsibility of marrying wealthy to take care of the family later on in life. The juxtaposition of the characters, with Jo feeling like she can do anything and Amy feeling like she has to do something, makes for great tension and at times great comic relief.
And even though drama can be stirred up with four sisters, there's still a lot of love and enjoyment expressed when they're together. I couldn't imagine a better group of women acting together at this stage in life.
Which makes me wonder: Why isn't this film being more widely discussed (outside of being nominated for six Oscars, including Best Picture and acting nods for Ronan and Pugh)? And where's the Oscar recognition for Gerwig's direction?
"Little Women" has stakes, laughs and emotional resonance. I can't imagine how difficult it could be to adapt a beloved novel like this, especially keeping it fresh as the sixth film based on that work.
Gerwig is without a doubt one of the best living directors we have. I hope like "Lady Bird" a few years ago that "Little Women" will be held in high regard going forward. Gerwig, the cast and crew are special and we shouldn't take them for granted.