Little Women Explained: What’s Up With the Ending?

Pros: great cast; Gerwig’s directorial work; chronology and ending; costumes; soundtrack Cons: the perception of the picture depends on the willingness to delve into the long story of the four heroines of Little Women / Little Women

Drama genre
Directed by Greta Gerwig
Cast: Saoirse Ronan (Jo March), Emma Watson (Meg March), Florence Pugh (Amy March), Eliza Scanlen (Beth March), Laura Dern (Marmee March), Timothée Chalamet (Theodore “Laurie” Lawrence), Meryl Streep ( Aunt March), Louis Garrel (Friedrich Bayer), Tracy Letts (Mr. Dashwood), Bob Odenkirk (Father March), James Norton (John Brooke), Chris Cooper Mr. (Lawrence), etc.
Компании Columbia Pictures, Instinctual VFX, New Regency Pictures
Year of release 2019 (in Ukraine 2020)
IMDb website

The film tells the story of four sisters played by Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, Florence Pugh and Eliza Scanlen. They grew up in a close-knit family, united against the backdrop of the events of the American Civil War. Although the main characters were brought up in the same house, the characters and aspirations of the sisters were formed differently. The film alternates events from the girls’ youth and shows how their lives have changed over several years, dispelling or fulfilling the dreams of each of them.

The work “Little Women” by the writer Louisa May Alcott has become a classic of literature, which has been repeatedly tried to be transferred to the screen. In the 1980s, an anime based on the book was broadcast in Japan, and in 1994 a very successful film was released, starring Winona Ryder, Susan Sarandon and Christian Bale. In addition, there are a couple of lesser-known films and TV series that depict the events of the book.

It would seem, why waste time on yet another film adaptation, the outcome of which is known in advance? However, director Greta Gerwig (who made her debut three years ago with the drama Lady Bird) found several techniques that completely brought the 150-year-old novel to life. And it’s not just the impressive cast, which includes Meryl Streep, Laura Dern, Timothée Chalamet and even Louis Garrel.


Greta Gerwig managed to place relevant and emotional accents in the old material, making it interesting again. It’s worth saying right away that this is by no means a radical feminization of the era of romanticism (as, for example, in the Dickinson series).

On the contrary, all the characters in the new film behave in accordance with the manners of that time, indulging in eternal human torment, but in no way picking up modern trends. As for the theme of a woman’s realization, this is precisely what is discussed in the novel, so there are no unnecessary plot additions in the film. The film only re-presents the story about the expectations dictated by society and shows what the heroines really strive for, without denying family values.

Little Women was rightfully nominated for an Oscar in the Best Adapted Screenplay category. This is the merit of the same Greta Gerwig, who changed the chronology of the events of the novel: first the film shows the life of adult sisters, and then shows episodes from seven years ago.


This is how Gerwig creates new intrigue by comparing characters from the past and present, and also understanding what decisions were decisive for them. Color correction of frames helps to navigate the numerous flashbacks, with warm shades indicating the special atmosphere that reigned in the carefree period of youth.

Interestingly, at the end of the film, Gerwig takes some liberties with the character of Joe (played by actress Saoirse Ronan). Gerwig hints that Jo has become the literary embodiment of the writer Louisa May Alcott. Therefore, the director subtly bifurcates the ending, showing what choice Joe will make in the book, as well as what life compromise Alcott will come to in real life.

Of course, to film such a large work, and even supplemented by the director’s vision, you need at least two hours (even a little more). Whether they fly by quickly or not depends on the viewer’s readiness to perceive the story of four heroines growing up.


To be fair, it is worth noting that the creators of the film are trying very hard to extract from the picture everything that could inspire boredom. Dialogues are often brightened by camera work, thanks to which you can feel the emotional mood of the scene. The actors convey the charming features of their characters, and the design of the locations and costumes immerses you in a cozy home world.

And finally, the instrumental soundtrack by composer Alexandre Desplat, nominated for an Oscar for best film score, helps to capture the right atmosphere.


A good adaptation of a classic novel that gets new life thanks to an interesting chronology, acting performances and a successful atmosphere.

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