Little Women, Big Feels

Mason Dredge

Movies like “Little Women” do not come around all that often. Based on the classic novel by Louisa May Alcott, it’s a masterful fusion of filmmaking, acting and storytelling that impresses as much as it touches the soul.

Set during and after the American Civil War, the story centers on the four daughters of the March family as they grow up, discover love and come into their own. The themes and storytelling are subtle but undeniably effective.

The plot jumps between two time periods. Without giving anything away, one is set when the girls are still children and happy, and one is set when they’re older and considerably less happy.

The time jumps are cleverly color coded. When the girls are younger, everything is filmed with a warm orange tint, while when they’re older, everything is a cold blue. It’s not an in-your-face stylistic choice but once it’s noticed, it’s impossible not to be impressed by the simple but genius choice.

The film boasts nothing but stellar performances. Meryl Streep, Timothee Chalamet, Chris Cooper and Laura Dern all bring their absolute A-game here, but by far the best performances come those of the March Sisters.

Saoirse Ronan, Florence Pugh, Emma Watson and Eliza Scanlen perfectly embody the playful, off the wall, tender energy of siblings, but when they need to switch gears and become shoulder heavy, sad adults, they do so with remarkable ease.

It’s hard to pick the best out of the four, but if it’s got to be anybody, it’s Florence Pugh as the bratty Amy. Nobody frowns like Florence.

But perhaps the most admirable thing about the film is its ability to emote. The subject matter in the film can be heavy, even heartbreaking at times, but no matter what the March sisters go through, there’s always love and hope at the center of it. It’s a warmth that radiates through the entire film.

“Little Women” is cinema at its finest. It’s masterfully made, but that’s only an additional plus. It’s a movie that warms the heart, makes you crack a smile. The world can be a dark place and the art made in it often reflects that, but movies like this are a reminder that there’s another end to the spectrum as well.

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