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.
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.