Disclaimer: Spoilers Alert !!! Make sure you have watched before you read.
“I've had lots of troubles, so I write jolly tales” - Louisa May Alcott
That’s how it started, that was the opening to the powerful, emotional and truly heart-touching movie Little Women. This is the story set in the 1890s about a writer, as she looks back on her tough, loving and tender times with her 3 sisters and a close friend.
Let's talk about the sisters; you have Josephine - also known as Jo - played by Saoirse Ronan. She is a character created as a boyish, spirited writer who wanted to fight in the war with her father but wasn’t allowed, as she was a woman. “Can't get over the disappointment of being a girl” - this line of hers shows just how different times were in those days and a taste of what it was like to be a woman. Jo shows how spirited and determined she was to make a difference; it shows her bravery and fierce attitude, which she uses to help support and protect her family. Being one of the oldest siblings means a great responsibility to help her family and she doesn’t shine away from that when in a powerful scene she cuts off her hair for money to support her mother's travelling to their father who was injured from war. However her love for writing doesn’t go unnoticed either, as described by another character Fredrick shows just how much of a passion writing is for her “No one gets ink stains like yours just out of desire for money”, as a writer myself I truly love that line the passion for writing is a desire I never knew I had. There is also a tense relationship between Jo and her Aunt March as her Aunt March see’s her as a “lost cause” because Jo wants to be more than just someone's wife.
Meg is the Oldest sister played by Emma Watson, she is quite reserved and modest, very prim and proper with a desire to marry rich and be able to buy pretty things. At least that's what she thought she wanted until she met John, a hard-working but poor man who tutors their sister's close friend Laurie to support himself. He quickly falls for the beautiful Meg and she does for him too, they marry and have two children and throughout their poor married life you see her desire for pretty things and in a momentary lapse purchase fabric that they cannot afford and when feeling guilty for doing so, she ends up saying “I try to be contented, but it is hard and I’m tired of being poor”. But seconds after saying this to John, she feels regret “It was so ungrateful and wicked” she says to him, the need for materialised objects to satisfy her still was very much something she craved but not in a shallow, harsh, greedy manner - she was just mesmerised by such beauty but her desire of love for her John was more and you see how they struggle together but also rise for a better life together. They show that love is more than an object.
Beth, played by Eliza Scanlen, is the third oldest sister. She is a quiet, shy, kind-hearted character who was an extremely talented pianist with the potential to be a beautiful musician. She and Jo had a sweet relationship; she was homeschooled by Jo and Beth always loved Jo's stories, Beth keeps to herself and unfortunately ends up getting sick with scarlet fever and Jo does everything to nurse her back to health and luckily she does recover. Beth also created a sweet relationship with Laurie’s grandfather, she has a love for the sound of a piano and admires the instrument, and Laurie’s grandfather had a daughter who died young and was also a piano player. Upon learning that Beth too was a lover of the instrument he gave a kind gesture; a beautiful grand piano that was his daughter and hearing Beth play made him feel like his daughter was home again. “You remind me so much of my little girl” was a touching and emotional moment. However, things take a turn for the worst when her fever comes back. Jo takes her to the beach or as she says “take you to sea to get better” hoping that it would work. Unfortunately, the second time round she wasn’t able to fight and Beth passed. It broke the family and the pain Laurie’s grandad felt was like he lost his daughter all over again.
Amy, played by the incredible Florence Pugh, is the youngest of the sisters; a girly girl, with a dream of being an artist. She goes to Europe with Aunt March, taking that opportunity away from Jo whilst studying painting in Paris, she also becomes the hope of her family as Aunt March sits her down and tells her “You are your family's hope now, Beth is sick, Jo is a lost cause, and I hear Meg has had her head turned by some penniless tutor so it will be up to you to support them all and your indigent parents in their old age, so you must marry well, save your family”. To marry rich, to support her family, to be their hope - the responsibilities mounted up ever so quickly. However, from the moment they met, she grew to have a crush on Laurie but the feeling was not mutual as he was looking somewhere else. She brings strong emotion and independence from the words she says “I would be respected if I couldn’t be loved”. Amy and Jo have a rough relationship through the majority of the movie for many reasons but by the end, things seem to fit into place, and by the end of the movie, she was a young woman mature, wealthy, loved and happy.
As you know, Amy had always had a crush on Laurie but his heart was somewhere else at the beginning, but when Amy is in Paris with Aunt March she leaps out of her carriage when she sees him. The one she truly loved but it broke her knowing he didn’t feel the same she always thought it would be a fantasy and she had grown and was looking to be with another. But after spending time together the rush of feelings she had come back and the moment she turned to her and said “Don’t marry him” Amy was shocked, it was too much for her, she didn’t think it would be a reality because of how he felt for Jo. in response she stands up for herself, showing maturity after many years of not seeing him and she responds an epic way “NO! I have been second to Jo my whole life in everything and I will not be the person you settle for just because you can’t have her. Not when I have spent my entire life loving you”. I mean wow, so honest, so strong, impressive the way she didn’t crumble, the way she displayed her tough woman interior, the confidence, it was inspiring to see but in the end, he realised he had a love for her but he was so fixated on Jo he couldn’t see that Amy was the one he was meant to be with. The moment he kissed her answered it all, they got married, had a baby and their life together was complete.
Laurie, played by Timothy Chalamet, is the charming, privileged, wealthy and sometimes spoilt selfish gentleman. He came from a wealthy family and is part Italian and lives with his grandad. One evening he meets a girl named Jo and falls for her quite quickly as his feelings for her grew quick he was patient but in the end, she just wanted friendship. She breaks his heart when he confesses to her how he feels only for her to say “I don’t know why I can’t love you like you want me to” and is left broken-hearted. He does eventually move on and see that Jo was right, they would never work in the long run for Jo as she put it “I care more to be loved than want to be loved”. Their friendship grows strong once again once married to Amy, and not long after Jo ends up falling in love herself with the charming, kind-hearted gentleman, Fredrick.
I will not go into too much of the story but I will say one of my favourite moments from Little Women is this truthful and powerful speech that Jo speaks from the heart. What she says is so true, Women were seen and sometimes still are seen in very few ways, a very woman power moment - I think many if not all, women will stand by “I just feel like women, they have minds and they have souls as well as just hearts and they’ve got ambition and they’ve got talent as well as just beautiful and I’m so sick of people saying that love is just all a woman is fit for, I’m so sick of it”. This empowering speech left me feeling many emotions the way women were made to feel, like they couldn’t do anything or that their purpose was to marry and love and be a wife and have children. It's so inspiring today as we see women thriving everywhere, doing things that were unthinkable for women and how that one moment made me feel so empowered and ambitious and proud to be a woman.
Little Women also had many other brilliant actors and actresses, such as Aunt March; an intense woman but good at heart, played by the incredible actress known for many brilliant films including Mamma Mia and The Devil Wears Prada - Meryl Streep. The Mother is; a kind, loving, sweet woman who works hard but is always there for her daughters and shows moments of reality for mothers. The Father who made it back from the war and Fredrick, the charming man who falls for Jo and after some real time realises her feelings for him too.
There’s a powerful, well-thought-through ending where the pain of Jo losing her sister Beth becomes her purpose to write. She went upstairs, lit a candle and placed the written piece she wrote titled “For Beth” and began to write. The floor gets filled with papers, and that is the setting where Jo wrote the beautiful story of Little Women. I loved the ending, a build-up to the last seven was the book being made, the way books were made back then - the hard work, the detail, the time and effort it took to make was clear and inspiring but you need to watch for yourself, you will not be disappointed, the words written throughout her life made step by step.
Does anyone else wonder about titles… well I do and I wondered why. Why “Little Women”? Well, simple, that's what their father called his daughters -“His little women” - how cute!