Today I saw Little Women at the local cinema and I lost my shit about it! I mean I love Greta Gerwig (director) and I love the book(Louisa May Alcott). It helped that 5 friends, no children a glass of wine, a giant mug of ginger and lemon tea and some chocolates and sweets accompanied my viewing! This post is just an absolute praise of the film and story…it does contain spoilers if you don’t know it, and if you haven’t seen that friends episode!
I watched the film with Winona Ryder in it when I was about 11, pretty certain I went with my mum and friend Rachel (is that true Rachel or have I made up a memory?) And her mum. I loved that version too but felt aggreived about some parts of the story which I hadn’t felt from reading the book, namely that Jo didn’t marry Laurie.
So I always cry a bit at the story, I mean Beth!! And the Hummel’s baby!!
But I cried at the beautifully crafted scenes that showed the depth of relationship,between the sisters, marmae, Hannah and their friends.
I cried because Little Women is such a part of my childhood and adolescence that it feels familiar and like home,it reminds me of my own background and their stories mingle with mine.
I have a temper like Jo’s that can cause damage so easily, and at times have put my values before people in a stubborn rage, the scene after Amy falls in the ice, and Jo scares herself with how far she was willing to hold on to a grudge- boy, that hit close to home. Equally her desire to just not be lonely.
I have in fits of rage been a bit merciless with others. My brothers can painfully recall how, when frustrated that they would never tidy up after themselves, I would pull out the plug or aerial after hours of playing championship manager or something on the PlayStation, thus loosing their game and achievements. It wasn’t the same as burning a manuscript but it was a very harsh punishment! It often was followed by me legging it to our bathroom and hiding, it was the only room with a lock on the door!
I remember a friend of my brothers saying he loved being with our family because we didn’t put on airs around him or stop fighting (little did he realise we didn’t change around anyone…maybe that wasn’t always a positive)and he just instantly felt like one of the family. I did love that we had a very open home and friends were always welcome. I saw in Laurie that need to belong to a family with all its chaos and less formality.
I like Meg have spent money I didn’t have in pursuit of fitting in, pressurising my mum to spend extra on clothes for me and yet leaving parties still feeling like I didn’t quite get it right! Not having the self confidence to just be me. Even resulting in some poor fancy dress choices in a bid to be cool and fit in, a gorilla outfit when you’re 17 was never going to work out well! I’m not sure how my dad convinced me that king Kong was a good ‘movie icon’ to go to a college party as but he did. I like meg, drank too much and then tried to pretend I hadn’t done it!
And I like Beth and Mr Lawrence and that piano have had things that have symbolised grief and have found redemption to bring about beauty again. The piano that provides joy and friendship with its gentle notes reminds the fragility of all things.
The obligation and sense of duty to do the right thing was pretty prominent in our household, and although we didn’t give away our Christmas breakfast for a few years we had Christmas dinner at an old people’s home. It was fine, but also a tad awkward esp when one lady wit dementia was convinced me and my younger brother were a couple and kept loudly stating ‘what a lovely beau I had?!’ I’d like to say we were always generous of spirit but that was not always true, but like marmae we endeavoured to be better.
So this story and my life get muddled; did I want limes to trade at school or was it stickers? Did I burn someone’s hair with curlers or get chewing gum stuck in mine?
Although I didn’t have sisters or a father who was away at war. I did have holidays full of fictional adventures (particular highlights with other families in France and Christmas games) and like most of us a desire to find a place I belonged.
Also a few of us have fallen in love with Jo’s red coat.