A Somewhat Review of Little Women (2019), 4/4

Rather than criticize things I watch and read, I want to reflect and write about my overall experiences with them using a system I’ve adopted over the years. The questions I usually ask myself are these: What did I learn? How did I feel? How did it enlighten my mind? If you are interested in learning more, please feel free to read my post about it HERE.

I know I just finished another review but I needed to write my feelings out before the words fly away from me. First, this was an incredible movie. I thought the way it was arranged was definitely different than any version I have encountered before. Rather than starting at the beginning so many of us are familiar with, it instead shifted more towards the end of the book, when Jo was very unsure of herself and her family’s future. I commend director Grita Gerwig for her take on this classic story.

I won’t talk too much about the movie itself, because the story, like so many classic novels, is very familiar. Like Pride and PrejudiceJane EyreA Christmas Carol, and even Treasure Island, directors have given Little Women by Louisa Alcott new faces through each generation. I believe this is because its message on family, God, and womanhood are identifiable. We all experience our own life, simple stories which in and of themselves are priceless. 

This film allowed us to see Jo reflecting on her life and fighting through fresh grief. To give Jo’s emotional journey more depth, the director compared Jo’s present sorrows with memories from her childhood. Throughout her life, Jo thought she knew what she wanted to be happy. But her life took many unexpected turns. She and her sisters grew up: Meg married, Amy took her place as Aunt March’s companion, Beth didn’t get better, and Laurie, heartbroken, left because Jo could not love him as a lover.

Saoirse Ronan in Greta Gerwig’s LITTLE WOMEN.

In the end, she chose to be happy, even though her childhood dreams didn’t work out. She married, became a teacher, and settled in her childhood hometown. This was a future she did not want as a child. In fact, she did not want to marry at all. She wanted to travel the world, become a famous writer, and stay with her family members forever.

I saw this movie, and for the first time, I felt I was like Jo. I have never had Jo’s ambition and fire. Through this movie, however, I saw for the first time a displaced and lonely girl. I understood her disappointments and felt her grief when she lost her sister Beth and best friend, Laurie. I understood her frustration and pain when faced with an unclear future.

I feel like Jo March because she acknowledged her loneliness. She was even willing to go against her heart to be loved. She tried so hard to keep her world together, to earn money selling stories she didn’t like. At her heart, she didn’t understand how much she wanted the world to hear her true voice. She didn’t understand how much she longed to know people of like minds and have someone listen to her as an equal.

When I went in to see this movie, I didn’t know I would have the experience I did. I want to talk about it. Sorry if it is not the review you were expecting. I know this story very well, but I didn’t understand how heavy a weight I am carrying. I have had so many dreams lately, where I try to help those around me avoid dangerous situations. Sometimes they are people I don’t know. Other times they are my family. Usually, no one listens. And I wake up and can’t help but feel sad.

I think it was my mother who told me I could fill the world with my love. I give that love very carefully. But just because I don’t show it often doesn’t mean I don’t wish to show others my love or be loved.

As I child, I often was alone, even among friends and family. Much of my school I did by myself because my siblings were just a little too old or young to be there with me. I had to learn to make my own way, to know who I was, to learn to guard myself against hardship that came at me. But in the end, I always had my family at home, who I knew loved me. And I loved and now love them all with all my heart. They are the most important thing to me.

But my heart is slowly breaking because I feel all of us drifting away from each other. Sometimes I want to scream because I don’t know how we can be content living away from one another, barely writing or calling. The thing I fear the most is nothingness.

It is hardest with my elder brother. All my life, I have wanted to be important to him. I tried so hard, but in the end, when I call him or talk to him, I wonder if he would miss me at all. I can’t talk to him with the confidence I could with a friend. I wish I was precious to him, but I don’t feel I am. I wish I knew how to let this go, but it is a small ache I have carried with me for a long time. I didn’t know how to put this feeling into words until now.

I have to get this out. I think I have been having so many dreams because I can’t love the way I wish I could. I feel stuck between what I feel is proper and what is real. I try to push it down, but now I know, seeing this movie, my feelings matter.

I don’t know how to tell my friend Carly I miss her, without intruding in her married life. I feel I am losing my best friend, but I shouldn’t voice my feelings because such relationships shift and change.

But as I had all these thoughts flitting through my mind, I had a soft voice tell me, “Aubrey, remember you are loved. All these things will pass away.” I watched Jo March allow happiness roll into her life, a happiness she never would have thought could be one she wanted. And so it must be with all of us.

I thought of Sam’s speech in Lord of the Rings.

It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger, they were. And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn’t. They kept going. Because they were holding on to something.

Frodo: What are we holding onto Sam?

That there is some good in this world Mr. Frodo, and it is worth fighting for.

Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)

This time as I pondered his words I thought, maybe perhaps the happiness I need is something which, though different, is infinitely better than what I could possibly imagine.

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