After many years, we finally have another remake adaptation, but is this remake really worth the hype? Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, a classic tale about the sisterly bond and womanhood in the 1800s, covers aspects of navigating romantic relationships and careers throughout this harrowing time period. Throughout the years, there have been many adaptations of the story of the March sisters, and Greta Gerwig now adds to that stockpile following Gillian Armstrong’s widely received 1994 version. Gerwig’s Little Women is anything but little, giving it its own unique but strange voice in the myriad of these adaptations. It crumbles boundaries set up in the previous one, but also introduces a rather deeper and equal connection with the sisters, although it relies on an audience with previous exposure to Little Women.
One of the many differences in Gerwig’s rendition, is how the plot is expressed; in this case, through a non-linear timeline. Both the book and many previous adaptations have relied on a linear timeline to grow our relationships with the characters, as they themselves grow up. Though it surprised me, the non-linear timeline does not take away from this; in fact, it adds to it. When we see all of the characters grown up, the flashbacks of childhood make it seem like we are traveling back with them. As we know bits and pieces of the present, our minds have to work to connect the dots, making it feel like we are the ones involved in the relationships, as well. When this happens, however, it can also disrupt the emotion of certain scenes. During some scenes that are meant to be sorrowful, for example, a memory might pop up, adding to a more cheerful mood, disrupting the already established tone. This is fine, but the effect may be jarring, and sometimes takes away the emotional climate of certain scenes.
Emma Watson, Saoirse Ronan, Florence Pugh, and Eliza Scanlen in Little Women (2019).