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Thread: Little Women (Greta Gerwig)

  1. #1
    Moderator TGM's Avatar
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    Little Women (Greta Gerwig)

    Little Women

    Director: Greta Gerwig

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  2. #2
    unattainable Zac Efron's Avatar
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    Greta Gerwig’s update is brilliant- she upholds the values Louisa May Alcott had for this story while also injecting Alcotts own known history and motivations as an author into Jo’s story. It’s different enough from the Armstrong 1994 film that it does nothing to make it feel like a copy nor an attempt to improve that take on the story. It feels big, romantic, emotional... yet never loses its scale about this family and their own struggles, and Ronan’s Jo might even be her best performance yet. Everyone in this film, even Chris Cooper as old Mr. Lawrence, are pitch perfect and given their due no matter how big or small the place they have in relation to the March family.
    I’ve heard some rumblings about how much people dislike Chalamet as Laurie, but I found his interactions and own failings as a poor little rich boy to be well performed. We already know he has chemistry with Ronan and here they continue their pairing magnificently. I’m going to see this again soon, and I can’t wait.

  3. #3
    Moderator TGM's Avatar
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    I enjoyed this quite a bit, and found it an improvement over Lady Bird. Interested to see how much more Gerwig continues to improve her craft from here.

  4. #4
    In the belly of a whale Henry Gale's Avatar
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    This movie is the absolute best. Like, I can't remember the last time just thinking about a movie threatened to make me misty-eyed and short of breath.

    So absolutely go see it, just don't think about in public later.
    Cold War (Pawlikowski, 2018) - **** / 9.3
    Minding the Gap (Liu, 2018) - **** / 9.0
    Green Book (Farrelly, 2018) - **½ / 5.8
    Mandy (Cosmatos, 2018) - **** / 8.9
    The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part (Mitchell, 2019) - *** / 7.7
    Alita: Battle Angel (Rodriguez, 2019) - **½ / 5.9
    Bohemian Rhapsody ("Singer", 2018) - ** / 4.1
    Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse (Persichetti/Ramsey/Rothman, 2018) - **** / 9.2
    Vice (McKay, 2018) - **½ / 5.6
    The Favourite (Lanthimos, 2018) - **** / 9.3

  5. #5
    Moderator TGM's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting Henry Gale (view post)
    This movie is the absolute best. Like, I can't remember the last time just thinking about a movie threatened to make me misty-eyed and short of breath.

    So absolutely go see it, just don't think about in public later.
    You just described Frozen II for me.

    Which, off topic, but I don’t suppose you’ve seen it yet? Mentioned you in that thread, as I was curious what you might’ve thought of it, seeing how you were among the few here to vocalize your appreciation of the first one.

  6. #6
    the maker of my own evil Ivan Drago's Avatar
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    Despite its nonlinear structure feeling uneven for a brief moment at the start, this is even better the second time around. I admittedly have only read parts of the book, but while a lot of the story's plot points in the '94 adaptation were depicted with the sweeping grandeur of most period pieces, the same points in Gerwig's retelling feel modernized and intimate in scale, as well as grounded in the relationship of the March sisters. Meanwhile, the March family's daily life easy to get swept up in thanks to Gerwig's charming tone, a fast pace and tremendous performances from everyone in the ensemble cast, who bounce off each other with infectious chemistry. It's just a wonderful tale about balancing headstrong ambition with compassionate empathy, and one of the best movies of the year for sure!
    Last Five Films I've Seen (Out of 5)

    The Invisible Man (Whannell, 2020) TBA
    Emma. (de Wilde, 2020) TBA
    What She Said: The Art of Pauline Kael (Garver, 2020) 3.5
    The Lodge (Fiala/Franz, 2020) 4.5
    Rebecca (Hitchcock, 2020) 4.5
    The Descent (Marshall, 2004) 4.5
    The Assistant (Green, 2020) 4.5
    The Keep (Mann, 1983) 2.5
    Sonic The Hedgehog (Fowler, 2020) 3
    Zombie (Fulci, 1979) 3.5
    The House By The Cemetery (Fulci, 1981) 4
    Gretel and Hansel (Perkins, 2020) 3.5
    The Big Clock (Farrow, 1948) 4

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  7. #7
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    This feels not so much just another Little Women adaptation, but rather like watching this story through Gerwig’s fresh eyes and own understanding, and in the process it reveals how much she evolves leaps and bounds as a filmmaker. This has all of Lady Bird’s boundless character grace notes that are given generously and empathetically to everyone, no matter how big or small the roles -- Meg has never been given this much rich interiority; Mr. Laurence’s brief scenes reveals such mournful history that has me recall how deftly Gerwig conveys Father Leviatch’s pain with aching life in Lady Bird; etc.

    But the altered timeline and meta touches also bring her brand of grace notes to new heights, putting own emphasis and lyrical parallels on past and presence that has this old tale land with such fresh, personal impact. That structural change, coupled with Gerwig’s usual concise editing, pitch this version as a conversation between carefree childhood and adult reality, giving extreme poignancy to how fleeting the former is, and how the “owning your story” theme (per the film’s tagline) can be complex and malleable, depending on each different person and on their stage in life.

    And no 2019 scene may convey the feeling of authorship and director stand-in better than that of Jo, spurred creatively anew after a tragedy, locking herself in the attic and pouring her life story onto the page. When Jo spreads tens of pages all over the floor and considers them carefully, it’s hard not to see Gerwig in that moment, pondering how best to arrange each fragment of a story so deeply and intensely personal to her, so that her own feeling towards it translates for thousands of people as well. Considering this transcendent, lovingly rendered result, she achieves that and then some, turning an adaptation of a classic into one of the most personal filmmaking of the year. 8.5/10
    Midnight Run (1988) - 9
    The Smiling Lieutenant (1931) - 8.5
    The Adventures of Robinhood (1938) - 8
    Sisters (1973) - 6.5
    Shin Godzilla (2016) - 7.5

  8. #8
    Administrator Ezee E's Avatar
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    % chance that I'll be the only single guy in the theater for this?

    Little Women - *** 1/2
    Gretel & Hansel - **
    Color Out of Space - ***


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  9. #9
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    Quote Quoting Ezee E (view post)
    % chance that I'll be the only single guy in the theater for this?
    I was one of two the other night!
    last four:
    sorry to bother you - 7
    memorable - 7
    daughter - 7
    walk run cha cha - 6

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    cloud atlas by david mitchell

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  10. #10
    Moderator TGM's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting Lazlo (view post)
    I was one of two the other night!
    I was similarly in this camp when I saw it.

  11. #11
    good for health Skitch's Avatar
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    Maybe its just me, but...I keep getting surprised reactions that this is good. I don't watch bonnet movies, and even I like the '90s Winona Ryder movie. Why? Because its a damn good story. Theres a reason its been adapted 7 or 8 times.

  12. #12
    Sunshine and peace Wryan's Avatar
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    Well this was gloriously heartfelt and emotional. The cast is excellent all around. The art design and costumes and cinematography felt wonderfully warm and lived-in and authentic. Pugh is too old in her young scenes and Chalamet is too young in his older scenes, but they did the best they could to make them work. Cooper and especially Scanlen (who was probably twenty or so when this was filmed) are achingly understated and just rip you up inside with comparatively little time to show it.

    The chopping and cross-cutting of timelines left, ah, some victories and some whiffs in its wake. When Jo and Laurie have their big tear-jerking moment, here an hour and a half into the movie, it cuts awkwardly across our recent memories of him and Amy or him and Meg or him and his...indolence? Or something? The blendered chronology makes it hard to piece together how we feel about them and their long-simmering relationship since we are bounced about so much back and forth. The scene, lovingly and earnestly executed though it is, is a little too hampered by this patchwork when it should have been a knockout. That sense may extend to the rest of the film as well, but I think it just clears the bar well enough. It helps that it earns its sorrows and joys quite honestly otherwise.
    Last edited by Wryan; 01-11-2020 at 07:34 PM.
    "How is education supposed to make me feel smarter? Besides, every time I learn something new, it pushes some old stuff out of my brain. Remember when I took that home wine-making course and forgot how to drive?"

    --Homer

  13. #13
    In the belly of a whale Henry Gale's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting TGM (view post)
    You just described Frozen II for me.

    Which, off topic, but I don’t suppose you’ve seen it yet? Mentioned you in that thread, as I was curious what you might’ve thought of it, seeing how you were among the few here to vocalize your appreciation of the first one.
    Oh! I did see the movie! And at the Canadian premiere, no less (lol).. So really I should've made the thread too, but I'll check on that now. I felt I was pretty mixed on the first and only came around more positively upon re-watch, and I liked the sequel morw out of the gate, despite thinking it was messier. But I think it takes bigger swings with higher highs as a result? I also think the songs are consistently more engaging too.
    Cold War (Pawlikowski, 2018) - **** / 9.3
    Minding the Gap (Liu, 2018) - **** / 9.0
    Green Book (Farrelly, 2018) - **½ / 5.8
    Mandy (Cosmatos, 2018) - **** / 8.9
    The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part (Mitchell, 2019) - *** / 7.7
    Alita: Battle Angel (Rodriguez, 2019) - **½ / 5.9
    Bohemian Rhapsody ("Singer", 2018) - ** / 4.1
    Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse (Persichetti/Ramsey/Rothman, 2018) - **** / 9.2
    Vice (McKay, 2018) - **½ / 5.6
    The Favourite (Lanthimos, 2018) - **** / 9.3

  14. #14
    Ugh. I might have liked this a little more if I hadn't already seen "Portrait of a Lady on Fire" and "The Nightingale," both of which were period pieces about the lives of women, also written and directed by women, and both more successful in achieving their aims.

    Not being familiar with the book or previous adaptations, I was very confused for most of the first hour, as Gerwig takes a scattershot approach and frantically tosses 30 second scene after 30 second scene at the audience. Who are these people? Why should I care? Are they really gonna be this cloying and precious and saintly for the entire film?

    I liked the flashback structure but it also posed a problem given the limits of film, as a medium, and the actresses themselves --- people look very different between, say, the ages of 13 and 20, but the movie can't acknowledge this, so instead I was left constantly re-orienting myself with every new scene, trying to decide if it took place in the older present or the sentimental past.

    Most of the movie seems at odds with itself. Gerwig wants to be true to Alcott's original fantasy but layers a confusing modern viewpoint on top of it. I don't think that works particularly well, especially around the male characters and any question of love. The romances, in particular, give way to a plots about female ambition. But I suspect those romances are the largest appeal of the book, in the back and forth melodrama of will-they-or-won't-they. Here, though, Laurie and the Immigrant Guy are so briefly sketched that I couldn't believe it when they declared their love for Jo or she for them. (It didn't help that the actors involved shared no particular chemistry.)

    Although I must admit the very meta ending was clever -- but almost too clever. Gerwig's sly attempt to have her cake and eat it too. One scene about Jo remaining determined and independent matched against another in which she gives herself over to love and marriage.
    Last edited by Irish; 01-15-2020 at 09:47 PM.

  15. #15
    Guttenbergian Pop Trash's Avatar
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    I can't believe it but I've been agreeing with Irish more and more lately. I had the same thoughts on the ages (esp. Pugh who is very good ... but there's no chance in hell a woman with that ummm curvy of a body would be middle school age Amy) and the same thought about the meta ending which is pretty clever but "clever" in a specifically 21st century way. Both things took me out of the movie a bit.
    Ratings on a 1-10 scale for your pleasure:

    Uncut Gems - 6
    1917 - 7
    A Hidden Life - 10
    Little Women 2k19 - 7
    The Rise of Skywalker - 6
    Home Alone - 5
    Richard Jewell - 8
    Marriage Story - 8
    The Last Jedi - 9
    Knives Out - 6

  16. #16
    Moderator TGM's Avatar
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    As with the hopping back and forth through time aspect in general, the age thing bothered me a bit as well at first, but I was able to get over it pretty quickly.

  17. #17
    Part of my confusion came from the initial scenes with Amy. I didn't understand why her sisters left her at home and I didn't understand why she takes such nasty revenge on Jo --- because it's not clear the character is supposed to be a very young girl. I mean, Pugh is an adult woman and looks it so her character's behavior seems almost psychotic.

    I sought out the 1994 Armstrong adaptation, where Amy is played by a 12 year old Kirsten Dunst, and suddenly everything made sense.

    My biggest problem is that Gerwig assumes the audience is already familiar with the material. I found large parts of her movie non-sensical, and after seeing the story played in a more traditional, linear fashion, I think her crazy structure undermines much of the narrative in the latter half of the story.

    Armstrong also paid a lot more attention to Laurie and Friedrich, and deepening their relationship with Jo, so that helped quite a bit, too.

  18. #18
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    I loved Pugh in the role and she differentiates in pitching performance between kid and young adult really well, but yeah that schoolhouse scene where she's surrounded by actual kids is basically:

    Midnight Run (1988) - 9
    The Smiling Lieutenant (1931) - 8.5
    The Adventures of Robinhood (1938) - 8
    Sisters (1973) - 6.5
    Shin Godzilla (2016) - 7.5

  19. #19
    Sunshine and peace Wryan's Avatar
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    I rewatched the Jo/Laurie scene from Armstrong's version and found it remarkably mannered and Bale rather...unconvincing, surprisingly. In isolation, Gerwig's scene is leagues better, but it's just watered down a bit by the chronological shenanigans.
    "How is education supposed to make me feel smarter? Besides, every time I learn something new, it pushes some old stuff out of my brain. Remember when I took that home wine-making course and forgot how to drive?"

    --Homer

  20. #20
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    The structure of two timelines reveals its depth and ingenuity EVEN MORE on rewatch, operating almost on a dream logic. Telling us the outcome of Jo-Laurie first is especially a grand touch, solving the Laurie problem that has plagued every incarnation of this story since. And the slipping in and out of events around this family's main tragedy, of Gerwig having Jo associate it with another similar near-tragedy last time and also with losing another sister metaphorically (to a marriage), is so layered and thoughtful, completely intuitive but never calling undue attention to itself, that the heartbreak is almost too much to bear. 9/10
    Last edited by Peng; 02-11-2020 at 05:07 AM.
    Midnight Run (1988) - 9
    The Smiling Lieutenant (1931) - 8.5
    The Adventures of Robinhood (1938) - 8
    Sisters (1973) - 6.5
    Shin Godzilla (2016) - 7.5

  21. #21
    Administrator Ezee E's Avatar
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    Thought this was a delight. Exquisitely filmed, creative, and certainly well-acted. I really had no problem with the chronology, if anything, a straightforward approach and I would've forgotten some parts I think. I haven't read the book.

    And I was the only single guy in the theater.

    Little Women - *** 1/2
    Gretel & Hansel - **
    Color Out of Space - ***


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  22. #22
    Replacing Luck Since 1984 Dukefrukem's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting Peng (view post)
    The structure of two timelines reveals its depth and ingenuity even more on rewatch,
    So it takes a rewatch to enjoy it? This was really irritating to me.

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  23. #23
    Administrator Ezee E's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting Dukefrukem (view post)
    So it takes a rewatch to enjoy it? This was really irritating to me.
    It's really not that hard. Half of the flashbacks occur with a zoom in on Saoirse sitting and pondering

    Little Women - *** 1/2
    Gretel & Hansel - **
    Color Out of Space - ***


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  24. #24
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    I went back to capitalize the key words. Hope that answers the question. (Just in case: I already got it on first watch, hence my first review, but I liked those two aspects of the structure EVEN MORE second time)
    Last edited by Peng; 02-11-2020 at 05:18 AM.
    Midnight Run (1988) - 9
    The Smiling Lieutenant (1931) - 8.5
    The Adventures of Robinhood (1938) - 8
    Sisters (1973) - 6.5
    Shin Godzilla (2016) - 7.5

  25. #25
    Replacing Luck Since 1984 Dukefrukem's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting Ezee E (view post)
    It's really not that hard. Half of the flashbacks occur with a zoom in on Saoirse sitting and pondering
    It's annoying. I hate this kind of editing. There's a long take after a dialog scene early in the film and it immediately cuts to a shot of outside the house in a completely different timeline. And because of the reasons Irish mentioned where the age of the characters is indistinguishable, it pulls you out of the emotional connection which is basically telling your brain, "RESET!! we are going to be talking about something completely different here."

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    Quote Quoting D_Davis (view post)
    Uwe Boll movies > all Marvel U movies

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