Little Women review-round up: Saorise Ronan, Florence Pugh are 'standouts' in Greta Gerwig's adaptation

Critics have positive reviews for Greta Gerwig's Little Women, which stars Meryl Streep, Emma Watson, Saoirse Ronan, Florence Pugh, and Timothee Chalamet.

FP Staff November 26, 2019 10:30:30 IST
Little Women review-round up: Saorise Ronan, Florence Pugh are 'standouts' in Greta Gerwig's adaptation

Greta Gerwig's adaptation of the classic novel Little Women is about to hit theatres later this year (25 December). However it seems it could possibly be the best rendition of the story yet, according to an early batch of reviews. The 2019 rendition features an impressive cast, including Saorise Ronan, Florence Pugh, Timothee Chalamet, Laura Dern, Emma Watson, and Meryl Streep.

The classic novel by Louisa May Alcott follows the four March sisters — Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy, played by Watson (Beauty and the Beast), Ronan (Mary Queen of Scots), Scanlen (Sharp Objects) and Pugh (Midsommar) respectively — in 19th-century New England, in the aftermath of the Civil War.

With a noteworthy score of 97 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes as of Tuesday morning, critics have equal praise for Ronan, Chalamet, and the "wonderful" Midsommar star Pugh, who according to some critics, is a 'standout'.

Little Women reviewround up Saorise Ronan Florence Pugh are standouts in Greta Gerwigs adaptation

A still from the film | Twitter

Here is what critics have to say about Little Women

Kate Erbland of IndieWire notes while Gerwig "modernised the book's timeless story in unexpected ways," it is clear the director has "affection for the original, and keenly aware of how the concerns of Louisa May Alcott and the March sisters (loosely based on the author’s own family) have never quite abated, no matter the time." Erbland wrote Ronan's performance was "vibrant," while Pugh's interpretation of Amy "has more dimension than we’ve seen in previous cinematic adaptations of Alcott’s book." She concludes with, "Gerwig’s Little Women offers its own delightful storybook polish, in its own unique terms, and what a comfort that is."

Scott Mendelson of Forbes writes Little Women is "a terrific movie" and "a worthy adaptation that can stand side-by-side with any other prior version." After praising the structure of the film, Mendelson wrote, "Gerwig’s adaptation is a gloriously acted, visually scrumptious, and often relaxing movie that is, and this is no small thing, a delightful time spent in excellent company." He then applauded Chalamet's performance as "an excessively agreeable Laurie," while he says Watson played the "most challenging" role. In conclusion, Gerwig's film is "a pleasure." Mendelson adds, "It is also an adaptation in the best sense of the word, creating its own variation of the text rather than slavishly replicating what’s come before for the sake of source fidelity. And while there are moments of tragedy and triumph, the film puts the emphasis on character interaction over plot and narrative."

Richard Lawson of Vanity Fair says, “This Little Women is, in some ways, a very finely tailored piece of nostalgia content. It’s far more vibrant and resonant than some website listicle, to be sure. But it still serves the same function. It’s a paean to the loving of a thing, rather than a movie that gives that thing an entirely new existence, free-standing and self-possessed in its own right, despite Gerwig’s narrative tinkering.”

Brian Truitt of USA Today calls Little Women a 'sumptuous effort from a technical standpoint,' adding the acting performances are stellar across the board, though Gerwig's screenplay is "the biggest joy." The critic adds "Ronan and Pugh are standouts, portraying the growth of their characters over time but also the combustible dynamic between Jo and Amy," while Chalamet also gives a convincing performance as Laurie. "This Little Women is definitely for the girls, who will invariably connect with the various March sisters, as they have for 150 years with the book, and in quite a few other screen adaptations," he concludes.

Peter Bradshaw of  The Guardian says Little Women has "great collective vitality." He adds, "There’s nothing little about Greta Gerwig’s rich, warm, bustlingly populated, and passionately devoted new tribute to Louisa May Alcott’s classic novel of sisterhood. She revives Little Women as a coming-of-age movie, a marriage comedy, a sibling-rivalry drama — and perhaps most interestingly of all, an auto-fictional manifesto for writing your own life.” Bradshaw also complimented the "great romantic chemistry between Ronan and Chalamet." The critic concludes, "This is such a beguiling, generous film from Gerwig. There is a lot of love in it."

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