Rent Little Women (2019)

3.6 of 5 from 715 ratings
2h 9min
Rent Little Women Online DVD & Blu-ray Rental
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Synopsis:
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 their 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 neighbour Laurie, Laura Dern as Marmee, and Meryl Streep as Aunt March.
Actors:
, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Emily Edström, , , , Charlotte Kinder
Directors:
Producers:
Denise di Novi, Amy Pascal, Robin Swicord
Writers:
Greta Gerwig, Louisa May Alcott
Others:
Alexandre Desplat, Jacqueline Durran, Amy Pascal
Studio:
Sony
Genres:
Drama, Romance
Awards:

2020 BAFTA Best Costumes

2020 Oscar Best Costume Design

BBFC:
Release Date:
25/05/2020
Run Time:
129 minutes
Languages:
English, English Audio Description
Subtitles:
English Hard of Hearing
DVD Regions:
Region 2
Formats:
Pal
Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen 1.85:1
Colour:
Colour
Bonus:
  • A New Generation of 'Little Women'
  • Making a Modern Classic
  • Greta Gerwig: Women Making Art
  • Hair and Make-Up Test Sequence
  • 'Little Women' Behind the Scenes
  • Orchard House, Home of Louisa May Alcott
BBFC:
Release Date:
25/05/2020
Run Time:
135 minutes
Languages:
English Audio Description Dolby Digital 5.1, English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, Portuguese Audio Description Dolby Digital 6.1, Portuguese DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, Spanish DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Subtitles:
English, English Hard of Hearing, Portuguese, Spanish
Formats:
Pal
Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen 1.85:1
Colour:
Colour
BLU-RAY Regions:
(0) All
Bonus:
  • A New Generation of 'Little Women'
  • Making a Modern Classic
  • Greta Gerwig: Women Making Art
  • Hair and Make-Up Test Sequence
  • 'Little Women' Behind the Scenes
  • Orchard House, Home of Louisa May Alcott

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Reviews (14) of Little Women

Worst version EVER - Little Women review by Alphaville

Spoiler Alert
18/06/2020

Alternative title: How to Ruin a Classic. It’s just awful. Where to begin? Writer/director Greta Gerwig wanted to make a film about the girls as adults and makes the disastrous mistake of interleaving past and present scenes. It begins near the end, then flashes back and forward, often confusingly, even for just a few seconds. So the film begins with a set of spoilers. For instance, we learn immediately that Jo has turned down Laurie, thereby removing all forward momentum from that storyline and making many of the historic scenes redundant. Newcomers to the story will wonder why sit through the rest of the film.

Equally bad, the plot and dialogue have been irredeemably tainted by a woke mind-set. Gerwig’s aim was ‘to give a more modern take on women’s choices and life’ (according to the DVD Xtras). This turns the film into a travesty of the book. The four girls are supposedly endeared to us by a number of giggly scenes but basically they’re mouthpieces for Gerwig’s feminist agenda. Listen to woke princess Emma Watson pontificating on the DVD Xtras and you’ll want to put your foot through the screen.

Given this, it’s no surprise that Gerwig can’t write for or direct men. Even Timothy Chalamet, so brilliant in Call Me By Your Name, can do little with the role of Laurie, while Louis Garrel as Jo’s Prof has no chance with the few scenes he’s allowed. All this renders the Amy/Laurie and Jo/Prof plots nonsensical.

The direction is pure cliché. The Jo/Laurie break-up should be an emotional highpoint, instead of which it’s so badly shot and stitched together that it plays like am-dram. The only imaginative shot Gerwig chooses is so out-of-place that the producers should have had a word with her – she has Jo speak to camera! Perhaps after Ladybird Gerwig was too untouchable. She even tags on a clunker of a new feminist ending.

Even the music score is woeful, ramming home every beat like in a superhero franchise. She runs… fast music. She’s ill… plinky-plonk piano.

What makes the end-result even worse is that it’s based on such brilliant source material. This reviewer loathes it with a passion. To see how it should be done, watch the 1994 version by Gillian Armstrong. And for a coming-of-age film that really hits home, watch the brilliant Mustang.

5 out of 8 members found this review helpful.

Not the novel, sadly. - Little Women review by KG

Spoiler Alert
Updated 25/08/2020

Disconnected from the novel, so It’s a disappointment to anyone hoping that it might actually be a version of the novel rather than the director's commentary on the novel.

3 out of 3 members found this review helpful.

Don't Bother - Little Women review by JP

Spoiler Alert
22/06/2020

I'm old enough to remember the classic film with Margaret O'Brian and Elizabeth Taylor. Watch that one! This version is confusing, badly plotted and a waste of good acting talent. I totally agree with the other review.

2 out of 2 members found this review helpful.

Utterly charming - ignore the negative reviews here - Little Women review by JB

Spoiler Alert
06/08/2020

Gerwig's take on Alcott's classic work of American literature is a jewel of a film. Complaints that it does not follow the chronology of the of the source material and that there is a modern, more overtly feminist tone to this version seem to miss the point. It is not a the job of a film adaptation to slavishly reproduce the work it is based on, but to mould it to the cinematic form and offer a fresh interpretation - like a good cover version it should be both recognisable and different to the original. Let's face it, many of the greatest film adaptations of literature play fast and loose with the plots, tones and even messages of their inspirations - 'Jaws', 'Vertigo', 'The Shining' and ''Bladerunner' all being good cases in point.

Gerwig's choice to deliver the narrative in a non-linear form has clearly frustrated many, but in choosing this approach the film is able to inject a more nuanced suspense into the story - shifting the focus from 'what' will happen in the lives of the sisters to 'why' these things have occurred. The device allows Gerwig to engage with Alcott's novel in a more modern way, exploring the constraints on women's freedoms and the impact these have on the trajectory of their lives in a way which is deft and revealing. The film is certainly interested in using its narrative to explore feminist issues, but this is by no means a feminist rant as some reviewers might have you believe. There's a real lightness of touch to the film's politics and the genuine love for the source material is evident throughout. Anyway - in the modern context it would seem faintly ridiculous not to engage on some level with gender politics in a text called 'Little Women'!

The film also has much to offer both in terms of visuals and performances. The cinematography here is beautiful and is cleverly calibrated to help you instantly understand where you are in the chronology - there's a richness to the colours and light of scenes related to the girl's earlier lives, while a colder palette suffuses the portions of the film dealing with them as adults. Shot compositions are also often very beautiful - particularly in the beach and attic-space scenes.

All the female leads are excellent, but it is really Ronan (Jo) and Pugh (Amy) that stand out. Their characters become flip-sides of one another- both are intelligent, talented women struggling to find a voice and win recognition in a world which seeks to silence women and render them invisible. Through this Amy's character is given the space to be more than the selfish brat of the family and we are allowed to understand the pressures and frustrations which often drive her less admirable decisions and actions.

Finally it is worth noting how well Gerwig does at balancing the sentimental elements of the novel (and so many of its previous cinematic adaptations). Alcott's work is undoubtedly mawkish and arguably previous film versions (especially LeRoy's '49 version) get rather bogged down in melodramatic/synthetic emotion, but Gerwig always avoids veering into a saccharine tone - no mean achievement. The audience is frequently moved, but the film never wallows in its emotions.

This is a timely, loving and charming film - full of compassion, visually rich and full of freshness, energy and intelligence. Definitely give it a go.

0 out of 0 members found this review helpful.

Critic review

Little Women review by Mark McPherson - Cinema Paradiso

Greta Gerwig appeared as such a natural choice for directing Little Women. With her previous picture of Lady Bird being one of the strongest coming of age female films of the decade, her ease of comedy and drama with a young cast was well suited for such a story. She even brings along her Lady Bird stars of Saorise Ronan and Timothy Chalamet to play just the right parts. Sure enough, she delivers a charming adaptation worthy of the warm ensemble in the 1994 film.

The story remains relatively the same with a brilliant nonlinear format. We initially catch with the four sisters of the March after most of them have gone onto live their lives. Jo (Ronan) struggles to work as a writer in New York. Meanwhile, in Paris, Amy (Florence Pugh) is studying painting with her grumpy Aunt March (Meryl Streep). Meg (Emma Watson) is feeling the somberness of raising a family and poor Beth (Eliza Scanlen) is ill once more. How did they all get here? The film answers these questions amid a homecoming where we both their juvenile past and adulthood present.

Though tightly edited to give us a sense of time and keep up the pacing, there’s a lot of room left to love and get to know the characters. Most of the running time is reserved for the likes of the girls just chatting and having fun amid writing plays and bickering about boys. Though all four women are fantastic, I must admit that Pugh stands out greatly for having such an effortless means of comical commentary and a sneer towards nearly everything. Watson has a particular grace for a woman who seems somewhat destined for greatness but expects so much of it that her issues have more to do with expectations of love versus riches. For as little as we get of Scanlen as Beth, she does well as a woman trying to come to terms with herself and others when they don’t feel ready to move on.

Of course, the star of the show is Ronan, harboring such determination and emotion in every aspect of family, finance, and love. When she finds herself smitten with Laurie (Timothée Chalamet), their private dancing amid an intimidating party is so adorable. They have a conflicting nature in trying to decide if they will or will not tie the not. There’s a lot of pressure within the family when Amy has already married and Beth is not long for this world. The likes of Aunt March don’t help and all that the matriarch of the household Marmee (Laura Dern) can offer is a mere understanding hug and some support to keep going, wherever the destination will be.

Most intriguing is how Gerwig stages that past and present of these women. In the past, everything feels warm and sincere, the orange glow of the fireplace and candles feeling comforting and refreshing. Skip to the present and the atmosphere is much different, even within the same household. Things are cooler and darker, a gloom placed over places that once seemed bright and fun. Somewhere towards the end, there’s a balance, where glimmers of beauty pierce through the trees to find the allure in life being an unpredictable ride.

Mix in some fine supporting performances from the likes Bob Odenkirk as the smiling father and Chris Cooper as the charitable elite neighbor and you have one all-encompassing bit of a wondrous period drama. Though never fully embracing a more feminist-leaning, which seems to only have a mild amount of room to explore in such a tale of women railing against times that seem to forget about them, there’s great humanity within such projections of these literary characters. It’s a picture that never feels as though it trumps the 1994 picture but feels just as inviting as a holiday treat worth returning to. In other words, Greta gives great grandoise to Little Women.

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