I showed this post to my friend Aíne (AWN-ya) as I was writing it because she's a super smart Master of English and I know she'd seen the movie, too. I was struggling with the point I was trying to make and if this would be helpful/interesting. She talked me through it and I hope you have as much fun going through these tweets as I did putting this together!
I think the point I'm trying to make is that I'm really grateful that because of technology and social media, the experience of seeing or reading something you find interesting can extend indefinitely. Because there's always someone else talking about. You can see what other people are saying about it, discuss it if you want, read about each character/director/other adaptations - anything you want to know.
My friend Diana got a bunch of us together to go see Little Women yesterday and I loved it. I LOVE when a movie makes you think. This movie made me think about all the other movies I love and vividly remember from when I was a little girl, like these:
One of my favorite things to do after I do or see something that makes me think is to look at what others are saying about it online. It's so interesting to see how others put into words what I also think or feel or read things I never thought of. I collected a few of my favorites. There was a lot of conversation about relating to Jo vs. Amy:
I love what the director, Greta Gerwig, had to say about seeing Amy in a new light after rereading the book at 30.
One of my experiences of reading the book was actually re-experiencing Amy as a profound character and equal to Jo, and someone that is a worthy opponent in some ways of Jo. And her lines in particular, some of them are lines that stood out to me as if they were written in neon. As if they could have been said yesterday. Like, “I want to be great or nothing.” Which is so ambitious and big, and such a statement from a 20-year-old about art. It’s not a cute pursuit. It’s a completely egomaniacal pursuit in the best way. Or, “I don’t pretend to be wise, but I am observant.” You think, Holy sh*t, this girl sees everything. She knows everything. She can’t necessarily change the world, but she’s going to figure out how to win. And that seems profound.
Another thing she said is, “The world is hard on ambitious girls.” And the world is still hard on ambitious girls. And this is Amy speaking. To me it seems so obvious that she hadn’t been given her due in our collective consciousness. And then the other thing about Amy that I think is telling, and it’s interesting how this has changed, is Amy is a character of profound desires and lust that she has no problem expressing. And I think it’s interesting that for years, the character we hated the most is the character who most expresses her desire.
Jo (Saoirse Ronan) in the film is borrowed from Alcott’s 1876 novel “Rose in Bloom,” about a young woman who goes off to live (and spar) with her seven male cousins:
Women, they have minds, and they have souls, as well as just hearts. And they’ve got ambition, and they’ve got talent, as well as beauty, and I’m so sick of people saying that love is just all a woman is fit for. I’m so sick of it.
Gerwig added her own final line: “But I’m so lonely.”
Do you ever wish you could go back in time and hear a story again for the first time? That tweet about someone walking out when they realize Laurie ends up with Amy made me wonder how I'd react to the story of Little Women if this adaptation had been the first time I'd come across it.
I'm rereading The Tipping Point, for book club. In it, Malcolm Gladwell writes: “A book, I was taught long ago in English class, is a living and breathing document that grows richer with each new reading.”
The same day I watched the new version in the theatre, I rented the 1994 adaptation on iTunes. I remember really disliking the character Amy and being so mad when she burned Jo's manuscript and also sad when Laurie married her instead of Jo. This time, I feel like I had more of each character to empathize with.
It was interesting to read this hair professional's criticism of the costuming/hairstyles of the film.
This one isn't about Little Women but I had to include it because seeing him in this reminded me of this tweet from last year. They do remind me of each other!
There's also this analysis of the characters' Meyer's Briggs classification.
I just think we're so lucky to have artists. I think it's amazing that Louisa May Alcott wrote this book and that Greta Gerwig adapted it and that the actors worked so hard and were clearly so passionate about portraying the characters.