* * * * (Joyce)
* * * ½ (Don)
(Unique version of classic novel)
Greta Gerwig's unique take on Louisa May Alcott's classic novel makes the story of the four March sisters come alive.
While Joyce liked the movie a bit more than I did, we both wished that there were fewer flashbacks. Although the editors did a splendid job in making the story all come together neatly in the end, there were a few moments when we were not sure of the sequence of events.
Saoirse Ronan plays the strong but emotionally confused Jo, dedicated to her writing and her sisters and determined never to marry. Florence Pugh plays Amy, the aspiring artist who wishes to marry into wealth. Emma Watson plays the sister who marries for love, only to struggle financially. The fourth sister isn't so lucky. Meryl Streep has a smaller role as the grouchy aunt, and Laura Dern plays the optimistic, charitable mother.
Gerwig gives us great insights into what it would have been like to be a woman in mid-1800s Concord, Massachusetts. Jo struggles to get her short stories published in a world dominated by males. The lines drawn between poverty and wealth, and what was then the "middle class,” are sharply drawn and have an influence on the women.
There is a lot going on in the lives of the March family. Their early years greatly influence what happens as they mature into women. There are times in the movie when you need to pay attention to catch he exact time and place that they are in, but it is well worth your careful attention as it all comes together.
Rated PG, with nothing to worry about for the young ones, who will probably snicker at some of the customs and attitudes of our ancestors.