Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Peter T Chattaway

Little Women

Recommended Posts

Links to our threads on the modernized "faith-based" 2018 movie and the once-in-development dystopian CW TV series.

- - -

Sony Sets Up ‘Little Women’ Adaptation with Olivia Milch Writing (EXCLUSIVE)
Sony Pictures has set up a new adaptation of “Little Women,” bringing on Olivia Milch to pen the script.
Denise Di Novi and Robin Swicord are producing the latest version of Louisa May Alcott’s classic novel about four sisters growing up after the Civil War.
The most recent film adaptation was Gillian Armstrong’s 1994 version, which Sony was also a part of, with a cast that included Winona Ryder, Kirsten Dunst and a very young Christian Bale. That pic made $95 million at the worldwide box office and landed three Oscar nominations including one for Ryder in the lead actress category. Earlier versions starred Katharine Hepburn (1933) and Elizabeth Taylor (1949, pictured). . . .
Variety, October 23

Edited by Peter T Chattaway

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Feels like that 1994 version came out yesterday.

 

I. Am. Old.


"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So. Am. I.


There is this difference between the growth of some human beings and that of others: in the one case it is a continuous dying, in the other a continuous resurrection. (George MacDonald, The Princess and Curdie)

Isn't narrative structure enough of an ideology for art? (Greg Wright)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Olivia Milch is the daughter of David Milch, by the way. As far as I can tell, this will be the first thing she's written.


It's the side effects that save us.
--The National, "Graceless"
Twitter Blog

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There's a TV series on the way. It doesn't deserve its own thread, but I need to share my joy in its existence:

 

Written by Jolly, Little Women is described as a hyper-stylized, gritty adaptation of the 1868 novel by Louisa May Alcott, in which disparate half-sisters Jo, Meg, Beth, and Amy band together in order to survive the dystopic streets of Philadelphia and unravel a conspiracy that stretches far beyond anything they have ever imagined – all while trying not to kill each other in the process.

 

Of course, Alcott made her bread writing gritty stories, so it's not like this is a total departure. But the fact that someone looked at Little Women and said "Y'know, this really needs to be a post-apocalyptic thriller" makes me happier, perhaps, than it should.

 

EDIT: We now have a thread on it.

Edited by NBooth

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Greta Gerwig Eyes ‘Little Women’ With Meryl Streep, Emma Stone, Saoirse Ronan, Timothee Chalamet Circling (EXCLUSIVE)
Following her critically acclaimed and Oscar-nominated “Lady Bird,” Greta Gerwig is eyeing “Little Women” as her next directing gig.
A-listers Meryl Streep, Emma Stone, Saoirse Ronan and Timothee Chalamet are in talks to star in Columbia Pictures’ retelling of the American classic with Florence Pugh also in talks to star. The movie would mark a reunion for Gerwig, Ronan and Chalamet. The young actors starred in 2017’s coming-of-age comedy “Lady Bird.” . . .
Gerwig was initially brought in to rewrite a draft, but following “Lady Bird’s” success, Sony amped up pre-production in order to woo Gerwig into picking this as her next movie.
The novel by Louisa May Alcott, which follows the March sisters in post-Civil War America, has been adapted several times into feature films, with the 1994 version starring Winona Ryder being the most popular. The BBC’s “Little Women” miniseries aired late last year. . . .
Variety, June 29
 


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If that cast does sign, would the plan be Emma Stone as Meg and Saoirse Ronan as Jo? I would have guessed Stone would have been considered for Jo, but Ronan seems too old to play Beth.

 

Anyway, I think this is the most excited I've ever been for a Little Women production.


"Anyway, in general I love tragic artists, especially classical ones."

"Even the forms for expressing truth can be multiform, and this is indeed necessary for the transmission of the Gospel in its timeless meaning."

- Pope Francis, August 2013 interview with Antonio Spadaro

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Emma Watson replaces Emma Stone.

 

Watson seems like an obvious choice for Jo, so I'm guessing Ronan's probably going to play Beth.


"Anyway, in general I love tragic artists, especially classical ones."

"Even the forms for expressing truth can be multiform, and this is indeed necessary for the transmission of the Gospel in its timeless meaning."

- Pope Francis, August 2013 interview with Antonio Spadaro

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

First impressions from Letterboxd:

Quote

Gerwig loves her characters. She loves her audience, she loves her costumes, she loves sisters and families, she loves art and music and literature. She loves celebrating women authors and women taking confident strides into male-dominated professions. She loves the enthusiasm of children for new, heartfelt stories. She loves acts of compassion, she loves the art of filmmaking. She loves taking a classic story that everyone knows and finding new angles and ways to present it. She loves taking supporting characters and elevating them to a plane with her protagonist by reordering the chronology of the story, thus making the sisterly bond stronger.

How do I know? This film pays attention to all those details in every scene with such care and tenderness that every scene is a heartfelt joy to watch. Two hours have never flown by so fast.

This is also the only movie I've seen twice in theaters on the same day.


"Anyway, in general I love tragic artists, especially classical ones."

"Even the forms for expressing truth can be multiform, and this is indeed necessary for the transmission of the Gospel in its timeless meaning."

- Pope Francis, August 2013 interview with Antonio Spadaro

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My review. I really enjoyed it overall, and the back-and-forth narrative structure won me over. The shot of Beth playing the piano and Mr Laurence walking down the stairs to listen really stands out in my memory. And I really thought Florence Pugh was excellent as Amy. That character could be so one-dimensional, but Pugh is convincing as both a whiny tween girl and a refined Parisian woman in the same film, which is quite the acting feat.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just saw the film last night and was pretty struck with it. It's a beautiful film and I'm stunned at how Gerwig went from Lady Bird to this. I don't mean this as a slight against Lady Bird, which is a lovely film, but this movie operates on a visual scale that film does not. Gerwig is the real deal when it comes to visual construction and narrative structure.

On 12/29/2019 at 11:04 AM, Joel Mayward said:

The shot of Beth playing the piano and Mr Laurence walking down the stairs to listen really stands out in my memory. And I really thought Florence Pugh was excellent as Amy. That character could be so one-dimensional, but Pugh is convincing as both a whiny tween girl and a refined Parisian woman in the same film, which is quite the acting feat.

I had those exact same thoughts. That shot is lovely and is indicative of what Evan said in this thread about Gerwig showing her love for the characters in the attention-to-detail. Also, Pugh may steal the film away from Ronan, who is very impressive, but not as surprising. I'm glad to see that Pugh has a register beyond the anguish that all 150 minutes of Midsommar displayed.


"Someone like Jean-Luc Godard is for me intellectual counterfeit money when compared to a good kung fu film." - Werner Herzog

3brothersfilm.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Amy is 12 when the novel starts. As much as I thought Pugh excellent (and I did), I'm not sure she ever looked or felt 12 in the early scenes. 

Of course, that may be all the more reason to tip cap to Gerwig's writing. The flashback structure lets her skirt the questions of how much time has passed and how old the sisters are supposed to be. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 hours ago, kenmorefield said:

Of course, that may be all the more reason to tip cap to Gerwig's writing. The flashback structure lets her skirt the questions of how much time has passed and how old the sisters are supposed to be. 

Good point. I wondered elsewhere whether the flashback structure may work better for viewers who are more familiar with the straight chronology? I've read the novel multiple times and seen nearly every previous screen version, so I can't answer this.


There is this difference between the growth of some human beings and that of others: in the one case it is a continuous dying, in the other a continuous resurrection. (George MacDonald, The Princess and Curdie)

Isn't narrative structure enough of an ideology for art? (Greg Wright)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, BethR said:

 I wondered elsewhere whether the flashback structure may work better for viewers who are more familiar with the straight chronology? 

I seem to be in the minority among critics, but as one who is unfamiliar with the source material, I found the flashback structure disorienting; it definitely lessened my enjoyment of the film.


To be an artist is never to avert one's eyes.
- Akira Kurosawa

https://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularcinephile/

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

‘Little Women’, Little Change
Jo’s independence is the film’s radical centre, its energy. It is Jo, even more than her sisters, who breaks through the stultifying aesthetic of the film’s world. Following her, Little Women spends less time in the March family house than the book or other adaptations. She’s at a party in a New York bar, then in a garret apartment. Jo sprints through the snow, down the streets, along the beach. She is cinematically construed as a modern woman, dancing wildly, theatrical in her boisterousness. There is more than a little Frances Ha about her. By focusing on Jo’s escapist writing and city living, the film departs from the suffocating domestic intensity of the book. Little Women is dominated by energy, rather than stasis, positivity in choice rather than negativity in compromise.
Gerwig is nevertheless keen to preserve the lavish period aesthetic, brightening and lightening where previous productions have emphasised the Marches’ relative lack of wealth. The March household glitters, bathed in a golden light that irradiates the sisters and their surroundings. The beauty of the filmic world is laid on thick, the frame crammed with period detail. The Marches are often arranged traditionally, lit to be golden, long hair tumbling artfully, angelic in their cotton nightdresses. Gerwig’s film has little appetite for gritty, ugly poverty and while much is (dialogically) made of the family’s struggle, the sparkle and beauty of their house resists engagement with this fact. When an interviewer told Gerwig “I want to live in the house”, Gerwig replied, “Me too!” These contradictions are frustrating. . . .
In an interview with Film Comment, Gerwig describes how she took material from Alcott’s other work and added her own flourishes. A line from a different monologue that went “Women have minds, as well as just heart; ambition and talent, as well as just beauty. And I’m so sick of people saying love is all a woman is fit for” is embellished with the additional clause: But I’m so lonely. In Gerwig’s Little Women, Jo says this to her mother in a monologue following Beth’s death. For Gerwig, this was a modern tweak that served to highlight the hardships of living ahead of your time, which she links to her own feelings of loneliness as a writer – “I was alone.” Yet far from instilling a sense of sisterly solidarity across time, her tinkering injects a sense of isolation and atomisation: anger becomes sadness, individuality becomes loneliness. The opening title of Gerwig’s film is also an edited quote from Alcott, “I’ve had lots of troubles, so I write jolly tales”, taken from an entry in her diaries where she discusses novel writing with a fellow female author. The rest of the quote, cut by Gerwig, continues, “and we wondered why we each did so”v – a crucial clause that reframes individual feeling as a structural cultural issue, undermining the twee naivety of the first pronouncement. Gerwig’s editing of Alcott’s writing incises the radical doubt and nuance that characterised Alcott’s approach – it is a misrepresentation, a false justification for the jollity that follows. Lauded for taking the original “to new feminist heights”, Gerwig’s Little Women in fact fails to engage with the proto-feminist spirit of the original, let alone the radical potential for which a modern adaptation might allow. Instead, the film imbricates a knowing irony, a self-aware stylisation, into the fabric of the original text, but leaves the central tropes of the novel intact. The commitment to re-shaping, rather than re-writing the narrative and ideology of the original means that Gerwig’s Little Women remains a celebration of compromise, rather than radical fulfilment. . . .
Georgie Carr, Another Gaze, December 28

- - -

Andrew wrote:
: I seem to be in the minority among critics, but as one who is unfamiliar with the source material, I found the flashback structure disorienting; it definitely lessened my enjoyment of the film.

Ditto, and I say this as one who grew up with the 1949 version (the one with June Allyson, Elizabeth Taylor, Janet Leigh, Peter Lawford, etc.) and watched it many times. If it hadn't been for my background with that film (e.g. my knowledge that Laurie would end up meeting Amy in Europe and marrying *her* instead of Jo), I would have been a lot more confused by Gerwig's film than I was.

Edited by Peter T Chattaway

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Anyway, in general I love tragic artists, especially classical ones."

"Even the forms for expressing truth can be multiform, and this is indeed necessary for the transmission of the Gospel in its timeless meaning."

- Pope Francis, August 2013 interview with Antonio Spadaro

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...