Little Women

A staff writer reviews Little Women.

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Vanity Fair

These four sisters are at the heart of the popular film.

Little Women is considered a classic in the world of literature and has been once again put in the spotlight by the recent release of the Little Women movie that came out in December of 2019, directed by Greta Gerwig. The movie features many popular cast members such as Timothée Chalamet, Emma Watson, and Laura Dern. The book, on the contrary, is not as recent. It was published in 1868 by Louisa May Alcott. Despite its release date, the book has maintained popularity selling over 1.78 million copies and has never been taken off of the press since it was originally published. The story is about sisters Jo, Amy, Meg, and Beth and includes details about their adventurous lives, in which they stand up to social standards in the nineteenth century. It also conveys a powerful message of grief through flashbacks to the past.

As with most classics, many consider this book to be a difficult read. Between the formal way of speaking and the older items used by characters, it can quickly become confusing. Lydia Pedersen, a ninth-grader who read the book, stated,  “I thought it was well written, even by today’s standards. I personally didn’t find it hard to read, but I can see where people could struggle with understanding some parts. Louisa May Alcott did a fantastic job of writing the story and making the characters seem like real people. I don’t think it’s the content or ideas that are outdated, but some of the language of the time; the girls use many items that we don’t anymore, such as corsets and embroidery hoops.” 

Little Women has also sparked some debate, especially around some of the ideas that are antiquated now, such as young girls having to marry rich. Controversy aside, I found that the characters in the movie stressed that they didn’t want to be the stereotype. They wanted to do what made them truly happy. The fact and manner in which the girls were readily fighting against society continues to be inspiring for viewers of all ages. The only thing I didn’t care for in the film was the confusing flashbacks to an earlier time. Sometimes it would take a couple of minutes to realize they were in a different time period. After a while, it got easier to pick up on because it was when one of the girls was feeling nostalgic. 

I think it would be great if they turned it into a musical. But like, a serious musical, you know? But I think the story is great either way, and you would need a really good songwriter to make sure that the story isn’t ruined by cheesy songs.”

— Lydia Pederson

Despite the fact that many adaptations of the story have been made, Pedersen wishes for something a little out of the ordinary. “I think it would be great if they turned it into a musical. But like, a serious musical, you know? But I think the story is great either way, and you would need a really good songwriter to make sure that the story isn’t ruined by cheesy songs.” This particular version of the story has some background music but is not a musical. However, there have been many movie adaptations and I would not be surprised if a musical was eventually made. 

Although it has been said that the Little Women film is very faithful to the original story, Gerwig did an excellent job of making the movie relatable even in the twenty-first century. I found that the movie lived up to its quintessential reputation. Hopefully,  there will even be a musical coming around the corner for this iconic story.

This story was written by a member of The Torch, the middle school section of The Lantern.