LITTLE WOMEN (2019) – Review by MaryAnn Johanson

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Did we need yet another film version of Louisa May Alcott’s classic novel Little Women, which has been adapted for the big screen and for TV at least 20 times, first as a 1917 silent, most recently just last year (though in a very small indie production)? Turns out the answer is a resounding “Hell, yes!”

Writer-director Greta Gerwig has given us an absolute treasure of a movie, one that is, for a wonder, hugely faithful to the book in the broad sweep yet also skeptical of it in just the right way. Gerwig tells a tale we all know so well with a change of emphasis here, a small twist there, not merely for the sake of something new or to “update” it but to engage in a conversation with the book, teasing out why we continue to love it even with some rather regressive ideas running through it, liberal though the novel might have been in the 1860s. (If you aren’t familiar with the story, this is a superb introduction to it.) This is a 21st-century-feminist interrogation of the book that recognizes the cultural pressures that Alcott was under, as a woman and as a writer, even as she wrote about bucking expectations… and the pressures that Gerwig, as a filmmaker, and the girls and women in her modern audience are subject to as well. Continue reading…

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MaryAnn Johanson

MaryAnn Johanson is a freelance writer on film, TV, DVD, and pop culture from New York City and now based in London. She is the webmaster and sole critic at FlickFilosopher.com, which debuted in 1997 and is now one of the most popular, most respected, and longest-running movie-related sites on the Internet. Her film reviews also appear in a variety of alternative-weekly newspapers across the U.S. Johanson is one of only a few film critics who is a member of The International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences (the Webby organization), an invitation-only, 500-member body of leading Web experts, business figures, luminaries, visionaries and creative celebrities. She is also a member of the Online Film Critics Society. She has appeared as a cultural commentator on BBC Radio, LBC-London, and on local radio programs across North America, and she served as a judge at the first Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Film Festival at the 2003 I-Con, the largest SF convention on the East Coast. She is the author of The Totally Geeky Guide to The Princess Bride, and is an award-winning screenwriter. Read Johanson's recent articles below. For her AWFJ.org archive, type "MaryAnn Johanson" in the Search Box (upper right corner of screen).