Little Women, the latest directorial triumph from Greta Gerwig, is a seemingly faithful adaptation of Louisa May Alcott's novel that carries the modernist themes which made Ladybird such an irrepressible treasure. The film is sublimely cast, with the role of the titular siblings being played by Eliza Scanlen, Emma Watson, Florence Pugh and the ever-excellent Saiorse Ronan.You could argue that it is the latter whose character is of most interest, but Gerwig gives ample time to each and, in doing so, garners genuine empathy from her audience.
All of the sisters are fully rounded and beautifully drawn individuals whose respective arcs each grapple with different aspects of the gender divide, without the screenplay ever being heavy-handed in its innate socio-politicism. It is remarkable how well Alcott's stories, originally published in 1868 and 1869, resonate with modern audiences, though perhaps not all that surprising given the societal talking points which have dominated the last decade. Huge credit is deserving of Gerwig, who is blazing a trail for herself as one of contemporary cinema's most eminent voices. And Ronan, for all the talents of her co-stars, once again shines above all else, surely staking yet another strong claim for her first Academy Award.
Little Women is truly a treasure and a film which will strike a chord with its viewers in many different ways.