Dir: Greta Gerwig
Starring Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, Florence Pugh, Eliza Scanlan, Meryl Streep, Timothee Chalamet, Chris Cooper, Bob Odenkirk, Tracy Letts
Greta Gerwig follows her sublime LadyBird with what feels like a very modern, fresh take on Louisa May Alcott’s perennial, that is acted to perfection by all and finds a heart that resonates for the ages. Incorporating elements of Alcott’s Little Men as well as the original text, this initially feels more like a sequel than a re-telling, with Jo already up and running as a writer, even if she still faces the prejudices of being a woman.
As the film progresses, it doubles back on the original to confront and define the March sisters and their own wants and desires in what remains a fairly patriarchal world. What impresses more than anything (as with LadyBird) is a combination of beautiful writing (Gerwig adapting Alcott) and an absolutely tremendously well cast cast (bring that Oscar for casting on right now!) Saorirse Ronan practically glows as Jo and excels once again (there might come a point where we tire of saying that – but hopefully not!) And she is well met here by the likes of Watson, Dern, and – in particular – Pugh, who is note perfect as an often petulant, but heartfelt, Amy. Oh, and Meryl doesn’t suck either!
And, very much taking a back seat but delivering all the support required of them, are the men – from young Chalamet to slightly more seasoned (but nonetheless valued) Odenkirk, Letts and Cooper.
For her second outing as solo director, Gerwig has crafted an adaptation of a noted classic that feels new and invigorated, funny and moving. There’s a reason it’s debuting in Awards Season – and it’s perfectly justified.