Before It Hits The Cinemas: Everything You Need To Know About ‘Little Women’
Mon, October 25, 2021

Before It Hits The Cinemas: Everything You Need To Know About ‘Little Women’

The public has been awaiting the premier of the new adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s much-loved Little Women, which will be shown on the big screens on Christmas Day 2019 / Photo by: Harvard Library via Wikimedia Commons

 

When people hear the words “classical literature,” they might just associate it with women wearing big bonnets, waiting for gentlemen to sweep them off their feet. In retrospect, most classical novels feature a misogynistic tone, which is definitely not tolerated in today's social and political climate.

The public has been awaiting the premier of the new adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s much-loved Little Women, which will be shown on the big screens on Christmas Day 2019. The latest film adaptation was left in the talented hands of Academy Award-nominated director Greta Gerwig, who was also the director of the 2017 critically-acclaimed movie Lady Bird. It is said that Gerwig poured out her rich, warm, and passionate devotion in the film as she created the new tribute to Alcott’s classic novel. 

Aside from having Gerwig as the director, the adaptation also features the most sought after actresses of today’s generation such as Harry Potter star Emma Watson and Academy Award-nominated actress Saoirse Ronan. Many fans of Alcott’s works are waiting to see if the adaptation this year will feature revisions or if it will stick to the original story.

The reason there is so much speculation around the new film is that Little Women is a classic novel unlike any other. Critics believe that it was way ahead of its time, because it was written by a brilliant woman who chose to break the stereotypes surrounding women.

The latest film adaptation was left in the talented hands of Academy Award-nominated director Greta Gerwig, who was also the director of the 2017 critically-acclaimed movie Lady Bird / Photo by: Diana Ringo via Wikimedia Commons

 

Jo’s Journey

The Little Women adaptation will focus on the fledgling author Josephine March as she negotiates her terms with her publisher to make her dreams come true to be a successful writer. Because of gender issues in the past, Jo's fight truly comes off as one about courage and bravery. The Guardian, a British daily newspaper, mentioned in their review that the film will let the audience see how the young aspiring writer fights for her copyright prerogative. 

Jo is an enigmatic character who wants to break the notion that little ladies must behave in the same ways as others to have a husband. She contemplates basing her main heroine on her own life, and having a wedding as a plausible ending for her story, which would give her a commercial bestseller and a materially comfortable life. However, this would be against her moral code and her beliefs.

The Hollywood Reporter, an American digital and print magazine and website, praised Gerwig as she skillfully navigated the lines between respecting the novel’s old-fashioned bones but, at the same time, illuminating the modernity of its proto-feminist perspective. The novel is already an entertaining read without speaking too much about women's right to self-actualization beyond marriage, so Gerwig's interpretation is one reportedly welcomed by critics.

Unfortunately, as much as Alcott’s fans would have wanted Jo to end up with Laurie, a wealthy, young, attractive, and conventional hero, the author goes in an unexpected direction. Book Riot, the largest independent editorial book site, explained that Jo ended up with someone unexpected, yet she remained true to herself as she continued to be unconventional while doing a conventional thing: getting married.

Louisa May Alcott is a pure gem

Alcott led a fascinating life. She was born on November 29, 1832, and her parents Bronson and Abigail Alcott raised their four daughters in a politically active household in Massachusetts. According to Mental Floss, an online magazine and its related American digital, print, and e-commerce media company, Alcott briefly lived with her family in a failed Transcendentalist commune. 

Their family was one of the kind souls during the time when slavery was not a crime, as they used to hide slaves who had escaped via the underground railroad, and she was also part of the discussions about women’s rights with Margaret Fuller. In 1861, during the beginning of the US Civil War, Alcott also worked while she sewed Union uniforms in Concord. In 1862, she enlisted as an army nurse. 

Alcott led a fascinating life. She was born on November 29, 1832, and her parents Bronson and Abigail Alcott raised their four daughters in a politically active household in Massachusetts / Photo by: Daderot via Wikimedia Commons

 

Her kind heart made her a civil war nurse who comforted dying soldiers and helped doctors as they performed amputations. This time of her life was very significant because she also wrote about her experiences in her journals and letters to her family. A year after that, she published Hospital Sketches, which was based on her letters and her accounts of how stressful and meaningful her experiences were when she worked as a wartime nurse. 

Alcott’s dedication to and love for her family is the reason why Little Women was published in the first place. In 1867, Thomas Niles, an editor at a publishing house, asked Alcott if she wanted to create a novel for girls. Because she was a tomboy, her excitement got trampled by the fact that she wouldn’t have much to write about girls. To make her father happy, she wrote instead about her adolescence growing up with her three sisters.