Little Women VS Little Women

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Since the first film adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women came out in 1933, there have been three other versions that came out in 1949, 1994, and 2019. With every new Little Women that comes out, each film emphasizes a different theme from the novel, which is in correspondence with the time they were made. 

   For example, the 1994 version is the first Little Women to have come out after the women’s movement and so Gillian Armstrong didn’t want rebellious and intelligent women to be portrayed through just a tomboyish light. 

   Unlike the first two versions, the 1994 and 2019 adaptation show the main character Jo Marsh writing rather than just voicing her love to write, which makes her profession more believable. With the movement allowing women to get more jobs, Armstrong characterized Jo (Winona Ryder) as a theatre kid who constantly writes and her motivation is employment. The film also recognizes the importance of taking women seriously and respecting their ambitions. 

   The characterization is similar to Greta Gerwig’s version because Jo is shown as strong minded and refuses to follow in the path that is predestined for women during the time where the novel takes place, yet she admits how lonely she is by trying to live by her morals. 

     What all films do well is characterizing Laurie (Christian Bale, 1994, Timothee Chalamet, 2019) and how he perceives his relationship with Jo. Because his mother died when he was young, he never experienced the love of a maternal figure and so when he meets Jo and spends time with her, he mistakes their platonic friendship with romance and doesn’t understand why Jo doesn’t want to marry him. 

   The major difference between the 2019 version and all the other movies is that Greta Gerwig drops the audience in the middle of the novel and takes them back and forth between childhood and adulthood, which is differentiated by filters. The cinematography helps with the understanding of the timeline, and the use of this technique is where Greta Gerwig proves to adapt a version that is the best one so far. 

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