We all have a favorite film adaptation of Little Women. Whether it be Hepburn, Allyson, or Ryder, it’s a film we all know. It’s a film we’ve all grown up with. We’ve memorized every scene, every line of dialogue. We know the film backwards and forwards. We know it by heart. Although each incarnation is unique, they all follow a similar path. They all feel familiar.
One of the reasons why Greta Gerwig’s version of Little Women is so successful, is because she completely turns the formula on its head. She subverts expectations by playing with time and causality. Gerwig cleverly rearranges scenes of past and present to cohesively introduce a story we haven’t quite seen before. This simple trick allows her to create something entirely new.
She doesn’t dismiss any part of the story or plot, but elaborates on them. She takes that punch of emotion and puts it in places you would not expect. It may seem like certain scenes are moving too fast, but it allows Gerwig to explore unfamiliar territory.
The love and care given to the budding romance between Amy and Laurie is enthusiastically welcomed. The bond between the March sisters feels renewed and refreshed. Gerwig’s finale is more satisfying than any ending that came before it. Little Women is, simply, joyous.