The last movie I saw in the theater before the pandemic was Greta Gerwig’s Little Women.
In the darkest days, when theaters were closing left and right, I thought I might never see another movie in a theater again.
The thought pained me, but if it had been true, I couldn’t have said goodbye on a higher note.
Like every tomboy with literary aspirations, I wanted to be Jo March when I grew up. And like everyone who read the novel, I was disappointed when young and vivacious Jo married that dusty old professor and settled down to raise a bunch of wild boys.
Jo March was meant for greater things! Not Laurie, but adventures. She should’ve been a muckraker or a suffragette, running an underground printing press that published her novels and pamphlets.
She had things to do.
Director Greta Gerwig manages the impossible in her adaptation—she kept everything I loved about Louisa May Alcott’s novel and changed only what I hated.
There are already three well-loved big screen adaptations of the novel, but Gerwig justifies her film by blending Alcott’s own biography into the character of Jo. In the film, Jo is writing a book about her family, the book that would become Little Women. Like the restrictions of pre-code Hollywood, publishers of Alcott’s day refused to print a novel about an independent woman who doesn’t wind up married or dead. So the Jo of the film writes in a marriage for the Jo of the novel in order to get it published.
And just like Jo in the film, the real Alcott refused to sell the copyright to Little Women despite desperately needing the money at the time.
Her moxie earned her a mint.
When I wrote about Schindler’s List, I noted that we lose the ability to absorb films into our souls after we reach a certain age, but I loved this version of Little Women as if I had first seen it when I was a child, with a wide open heart.
I saw it four times in the theater.
Greta Gerwig, I’ll follow you anywhere.
This is part of my Movies I’m Grateful For series, running daily through the month of November.
Other films include: Splash | New Moon | The Lucky One | Thelma and Louise | Katy Perry: Part of Me | Crazy Rich Asians | Under the Tuscan Sun | Terminator 2 | Moulin Rouge! | How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days | Practical Magic | Schindler’s List | Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol | Stardust | The Man in the Moon | The Others |