'Little Women': A Review of the On-Screen Portrayal of Female Empowerment

Starring: Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, Florence Pugh, Eliza Scanlen, Laura Dern, Timothée Chalamet, Tracy Letts, Bob Odenkirk, James Norton, Louis Garrel, Chris Cooper and Meryl Streep.


Directed by Greta Gerwig


Do not fear: this review does not contain spoilers, although I highly recommend reading the book first!


When my friends and I found out there was going to be a film version of this timeless tale, we immediately promised one another that we would set aside the time to go see it together. 


After several months of waiting and wondering if the film would come out just as promising as the many trailers we’d seen in anticipation, we went with very high expectations. Those expectations were knocked out of the park and are probably not even relevant in comparison to the movie itself. 


The film was a very thorough walk-through of the 19th century lives of the Jo, Meg, Beth, and Amy March and their family from Christmas one year when they were young, all the way through marriages, losses, and pursuing their individualized ambitions. Everything including the sets, actors, and costuming was detailed in a way that made me feel completely immersed in the rich and captivating story.


I have included a journal entry below that I wrote with my initial reactions after seeing the movie:


Words to describe Little Women:

  • Beautiful
  • Gripping
  • Masterpiece
  • Empowering
  • Eye-opening
  • Nostalgic 
  • Sweet
  • Funny


It’s funny how we view the characters in movies as having perfect lives when in reality that is completely untrue. In some aspects, they can be painfully relatable. It’s what makes it imperfect that makes it perfect. We may want the lives of those in books or on-screen, but it’s important to recognize that we have the power to choose the life we want with an outlook of positivity. We have the power to choose to not wish our own lives away in place of another’s. 


This was just one of the many things I was thinking of after seeing Little Women this evening. 


I loved how the men were portrayed in the movie. It was made so that they were capable of having feelings and making genuine connections, and I feel that is often overlooked when portraying them in Hollywood because I don’t see it on-screen often. Men are human beings who feel love and know what feeling stuck is like.


I want to write my next article on this film and include all the things I felt and took away from it. 



I don’t recall when exactly, but I remember reading the youth version of Little Women by Louisa May Alcott at a fairly young age. The classic story of four sisters and their individual lives, interests and romances was a narrative that I ate up. It was the kind of book you refuse to put down, not until you begin it again. 


More than anything, I wanted to be Jo March, the stubborn and witty writer of the household. 


Jo, in a way, was the “black sheep” of her family because of her tomboyish tendencies and outspokenness. She always found a way to surprise her family with the decisions she made, but what I loved the most was that she was unwilling to conform to the traditional ways of life for a woman living in her time period. Jo chose her own path with the guidance of the extraordinarily supportive women in her life. She was very passionate and even thought to be based upon Louisa May Alcott herself, which makes the story all the more ahead of its time, thus very inspiring to me. 


Now I look at her and see her as a character role model in my life, someone who has helped me find myself and see just what I am capable of, as well as given me the strength to continue when a situation seems hopeless. 


Seeing her character on screen portrayed by Saoirse Ronan was a dream come true, and it made her my hero even more so. 



View the trailer and experience it in theaters!


Cover, 1, 2