Little Women

This is a girl-powered film that is simply magnificent. Many in the theatre, including me, applauded as it concluded.

Little WomenDespite the fact that the audience at each showing is likely to be overwhelmingly female, men need to understand two things from the beginning. First of all, Director Greta Gerwig’s film is likely to be nominated for a Best Picture Oscar this year, and it deserves it. Secondly, men will discover something quite new at the end of the film where the lines to the restroom will be far longer for women than their male colleagues!

With their father in the Union Army near the end of the Civil War, four smart, attractive sisters live with their mother as they seek to find different paths to joy in life. Their interaction at home will provide meaning to most women in the theatre.

Coming off her stunning performance as a divorce lawyer in Marriage Story, Laura Dern gives a heartbreaking portrayal of a mother helping her girls face an unknown future as she worries about a husband who continues to fight for the Union cause. However, it is her four young daughters who will capture your heart as they seek to advance in a world dominated at every turn by men.

Saoirse Ronan, one of my favorite actresses, plays the older sister Jo, a young woman who helps support the family by writing short stories. Both caustic and smart as a whip, her rejection of marriage as little more than male bondage is demonstrated when she finds fault with her publisher’s suggestion that all women end up married at the end of her stories.

Florence Pugh, Emma Watson and Eliza Scanlen play Jo’s younger sisters who join together in their attempts to find meaning in life. Ms. Puge gives a devastating performance as Amy as she wrestles with her attraction to Laurie, played by Timothée Chalamet in another eye-popping performance. Though Laurie is clearly in love with Jo, she rejects both him and marriage for reasons referred to above.

However, I’ve got to point out the memorable performance by Ms. Watson as the sister Meg. Rejecting Jo’s approach, she finds marriage to be an anchor for leading a fulfilling life. Though it would be foolish to single out the performance of one actress over the others, Ms. Watson will remind you of her glowing contributions to Beauty and the Beast (2017), The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012) and all of the Harry Potter films.

With the except of Mr. Chalamet, most of the male characters play small but meaningful roles. That is particularly true of Louis Garrel, who plays the young man that Jo met on a trip to New York. However, no one exceeds Tracy Letts’ performance as the cryptic publisher of Jo’s literary works. With his unforgettable performance as Henry Ford II in Ford v. Ferrari, few would argue if Mr. Letts received two Oscar nominations this year for Best Supporting Actor.

It is clear throughout the film that Ms. Gerwig is delivering a message to all young women as they seek to avoid making decisions where they become second class citizens. Many issues are confronted, including the importance of recognizing love as an emotion that you must feel for your male partner as opposed to accepting marriage as little more than being loved by your spouse. Though the film takes place in the 1860’s, women face many of the same challenges to this very day.

Clearly, we live in a country where women have never been President while they are forbidden to be priests in the Catholic Church. Forced to serve in the background on most Board of Directors in major corporations, they continue to suffer sexual abuse on a wide scale as seen recently in Hollywood and Fox News.

While I loved this movie and found it to be one of the best films of 2019, it is a film that will long resonate with every woman who finds the time to see it in a local theatre.