In 1868, the first volume of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women was released into the world. The version as we know it today is one book containing two volumes – but Alcott only wrote the second part of the story, published in 1869, because the first proved to be such a critical and commercial success. The world simply needed more of these girls and their lives. Where Alcott thought the story had ended, the people told her otherwise.
Greta Gerwig’s 2019 screen adaptation proves itself loyal to this binary. The film skips between past and present, interweaving two timelines until they meet in the middle to truthfully paint the picture of the March sisters’ coming-of-age. But then the film’s ending changed everything. When it was first announced that the Lady Bird director would be tackling Alcott’s novel, already adapted over a dozen times for the screen both big and small, eyebrows were raised. But in those final scenes? Gerwig split open this beloved snowglobe of a world with such ambition that it feels nothing short of genius.
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