Since I saw this DVD version of the 2019 movie appear on the New Arrivals shelf, I knew I had to watch it, and how convenient that I can also review it for our devoted blog readers (both of you 😉 ) here!
A friend who’s a big fan of the book insisted that I read the book first (I somehow missed out when I was a girl) and I’m very glad I had that fresh in my mind, both for the great pleasure of Alcott’s writing, and because this movie version is quite non-linear — it assumes watchers already know plenty of details about the story. There are so many jumps between 15-year-old Jo, 22-year-old Jo, and many ages in between, often with only a minute or two in each scene and sometimes with scarce cues in lighting or character age to differentiate the two — I’m thinking in particular of the sequence covering Beth’s illness and eventual death. But the jumps, while sometimes confusing, do still enhance the emotional impact of such scenes, so I can’t fault director Greta Gerwig too much.
Beyond that, I loved everything about this movie! The cozy family scenes are just as heartwarming as you’d want them to be — the cinematography and costuming are lush and gorgeous — the actresses are all believable in bringing to life the author’s intention. Jo’s tension between relationship fulfillment and writing genius are perhaps heightened a bit more in this modern feminist retelling than in the book (does Jo actually marry in the end or not, in this version!?), but Gerwig knows her audience.
Highly recommended, and I think over the winter break, I might have to go watch some earlier movie versions of this classic, just for comparison and the sheer pleasure of it!
directed by Greta Gerwig
New Arrivals, 2nd Floor, Lit