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.