Little Women: Is another film adaptation really necessary?

May Alcott, Fronstpiece Illustration from Part 2 of Little Women, (image: Houghton Library, Harvard University)

Little Women was first published 150 years ago. It was first translated to screen 103 years ago as a silent film. Since then it has been made into multiple feature films and countless BBC dramas. Through these adaptations the tale of the four sisters: Jo, Amy, Beth and Meg March have been passed down to multiple generations. So, what could possibly make Greta Gerwig’s new film special? Or, might we even wonder, necessary?

Well, if Jo March’s novel is ‘For Beth,’ Greta Gerwig’s film is for Amy. Oh, and for Timothee Chalamet (19th century poet shirts suit him very nicely.) In this rendition of the famous story the film begins with Jo as an adult. She is faced with the decision of staying true to her work or making cuts and changes to earn the money her family so desperately needs. The economics of creativity remain a prevalent theme in Hollywood today. Somewhat controversially Emma Watson (who plays Meg March in the film) used Taylor swift as a contemporary example of a female artist fighting to claim ownership over her work. The notion of female economics remains central to the rest of the film. Gerwig’s focus on the role of women in society is verbalised by Amy’s soliloquy. In a moment when her male counterpart Laurie chastises her for her unromantic notion of love as a transaction of marriage. “I think the poets would dis