The 92nd Academy Awards are right around the corner and for the first time in a long time, my schedule actually permits me to write an article like this. Huzzah. Now remember these are my personal thoughts, which we’re all entitled to.
1. Little Women
Adapted Screenplay By: Greta Gerwig
Directed By: Greta Gerwig
Little Women is without question, my favorite film of the year, quickly landing itself into my Top 10 of All-Time (A ranking I haven’t actually done yet, but I know it’s there. Ssh.) It’s a timeless story for all ages and I never want to stop singing praises for Greta Gerwig and the entire cast who’ve managed to bring out parts of the March women that previous adaptations didn’t get to. It’s a story that focuses on mothers and daughters, and sisters alongside love showcasing just how the relationships in our lives could inspire the people we choose to become. Times have changed and there’s a lot of dark media in the world right now, but I’m happy to know that there’s still room for families, romance, and stories that end with profound hope. This is the kind of writing that made me fall in love with storytelling when I was a little girl, and for that I’m grateful. It’s vulnerable, it’s sincere, it’s potently moving and perhaps, my favorite part of this version is the bold reiteration of the fact that all our dreams, despite how simple or complex, matter. A woman’s choices and the narratives she carves for herself are always important. It’s brilliantly acted, astoundingly directed, and dare I say, perfectly adapted. It’s my Best Picture choice and I’ll stand by that belief to the end of time.
“Just because my dreams are different than yours doesn’t make them any less important.”
“The world is hard on ambitious girls.”
I might never want to stop singing praises for this movie because I don’t know how long it’ll take to be this moved by something again as a woman. Greta Gerwig’s adaptation of the classic novel is this generation’s deepest treasure. I’ve never felt more seen by another female character as I did numerous times throughout the film by each of the March women. But for this article specifically, we’re here to celebrate our differences and to shine light on the universal truth, which is the fact that all our dreams are incomparably vital.
Dare I say, women are the most extraordinarily complex and remarkably rare beings to exist. There’s fire in even the quietest of souls for goodness as pure as Beth’s demands great patience. We’re driven by all that’s around us, moved by a myriad of spectacles and beautiful through it all. Louisa May Alcott’s characters are magic, each in their own unique way representing the kind of woman that’s perhaps in all of us. Gerwig’s adaptation has thus far been the strongest ode to the very complexities that are so acutely reflective of who we are today, while bringing forward a version of the book that feels so true to the story Alcott’s been telling from day one. In this version of Little Women, we’re given the chance to see each of the girls in a way past adaptations didn’t get to showcase, and in doing so, it’s given all those watching, the chance to see that there’s greatness in us all.
It is now 2020 and while immense progression has taken place towards achieving equality, in the midst of it shaming has also taken root. I’ve written about strong women a lot, and while I’m thankful for the opportunity to have such fierce representation in the form of female superheroes, public figures, and gifted beings, we’ve neglected the quieter side of women, which is the showcase of simpler lives. Little Women does that exquisitely by reiterating the fact that women aren’t just strong when they choose not to marry or when they can handle things by themselves, but that strength comes from the choices they make for themselves and the goodness they sprinkle into the world. Women are beautiful – they are complex masterful beings who deserve the chance to be exactly who they want to be and Little Women gives each of them the opportunity to do so in a film that holds its ground amongst darkness with remarkable ease and potency.
Whether it’s the nonchalance towards femininity or the welcoming of it. The desire for silk dresses or the desire for fairy wings. Little Women is a film that points fingers, thus making that much more reflective of organic sibling rivalries, but it doesn’t lose its footing in reminding viewers of the universal truth that we are all indescribably special and important. Women are allowed to change their minds, they’re allowed to grow and evolve. They’re allowed have moments consisting of deep vulnerability, pure sincerity, or utter chaotic perplexity. And these lessons are bold, in your face reminders, which have exceptionally resulted in profound, inspiring storytelling that’s bound to make a difference.
Little Women may be a classic story with a lot of adaptations, but it’s one of the few stories entirely deserving of its merit and rank amongst females. And Greta Gerwig’s version especially, is as close to perfect as it gets. I’ll go as far as stating that in my eyes, it is actually perfect. Gerwig’s adaptation and my first viewing of the film is something I’ll carry with me for as long as I live because I’ve never felt more seen or exposed than watching something in a room full of people. On multiple accounts it felt as though my innermost personal thoughts, the diary inside my head because I don’t actually carry a physical one was out there. And I’ve read the book, I’ve seen previous versions of the film, I’ve just never dived in head deep into the lives of the March women as I did today. Little Women stands the test of time over and over again because it’s a story that celebrates our differences alongside our strengths. I have quite a few pieces I want to write to celebrate this film and its mark on my life, but right now I want to scream about the importance of our goodness and the fact that it’s a choice every single day that’s often overlooked.
In times like this, I’m often reminded of the Book of Proverbs, chapter 31 where women are to be reminded of their irreplaceable place in the world. “Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come.” (31:25) And my profound love for the chapter is due to its exquisite description of our strength, exhibiting that it isn’t mutually exclusive with always having it together, but remaining steadfast to kindness and sincerity even in the midst of our troubles.
Greta Gerwig touches on a part of Marmee that adaptations in the past haven’t presented as boldly, and it’s her statement that she’s “angry nearly every day of her life”, a line which Laura Dern brings to the forefront with such vehemence and vulnerability, I can’t stop thinking about it. Each of the March girls are incomparably relatable, but we and Hollywood especially, forget to acknowledge just how difficult it is not to let the sun go down on anger. We might be in a seemingly more progressive time where women have greater opportunities than they did in the 19th century, but it doesn’t change the fact that our fight is still great and the expectations riding on us are much higher. When a woman is angry, she’s told to calm down, but when a man’s rage turns him into a villain, it’s okay because society wronged him, broke him, and bullied him. Open any woman’s heart and there you’ll find countless rejections, deep cuts, bruises, and missing pieces that never heal and yet, the choice to consistently be caretakers, loving beings is thus overlooked. When women voice their concerns, it’s irrational, too petulant — it’s unimportant. We live in a world that focuses too much on the darknesses that breed villainy and not enough on the darknesses that fortify armor.