Little Women breathes new life into into the Classic Novel

Louisa May Alcott’s book has been adapted many times, and as recently as the mid-nineties, so Greta Gerwig had to bring something very special to the screen in order to justify yet one more retelling of this classic tale. She does this by rejigging the timeline, tinkering with the narrative, and hiring a stellar cast. By doing so, she breathes new life into the story of four sisters growing up during the civil war.

Inevitably, the centre of attention is Jo March, the would-be novelist and Alcott’s alter ego. She is played to perfection by Saoirse Ronan, reunited with Gerwig after their mutual success with Lady Bird. Florence Pugh is just as good, bringing a maturity and fierce determination to the brattish Amy. Admittedly, the marriage between Emma Watson’s underwritten Meg and her penniless husband gets pushed to one side, but there’s enough here to get a flavour of the novel’s depths.

The stunning New England locations are beautifully filmed and are populated by a handsomely dressed cast. Most pleasing of all, however, is the impish twist Gerwig gives us at the end. With a nod to John Fowles, she allows the audience to have their cake and eat it.