Diary…Monday, Little Women


Sisters act, in the best way they can

🔹Here is another article that addresses Labour’s current problem.

If none of the leadership candidates cares to embrace a better form of public involvement (ie, proportional representation), local councils will do it themselves in a radical agenda for localism, including citizens’ assemblies.

🔹I like to know a bit about a film before seeing it. I don’t read reviews, but a rough idea of what it’s about is useful preparation.

I thought I knew what ‘Little Women’ was about: a bunch of very different sisters growing up with all the complications of young adulthood to deal with.

I did a web search today, and needless to say, I learned more about ‘Little Women’ (Film, 2019) than I needed to know before attending the 17.35 showing at the Barbican.

Girls just wanna have fun

That’s the problem with web searches. The most popular search always crawls to the top of the list.

And in this case, any reference to Louisa May Alcott’s work of literary fiction is pushed way down the browsing ladder.

I learned quickly from the first search that Florence Pugh was outstanding. You would have needed to be blind to have missed it.

This much I could have predicted. I have admired Pugh’s work ever since her appearance in the TV miniseries ‘Little Drummer Girl’, based on the John le Carré novel. She was good in the ridiculous ‘Midsommar’, too. She even seemed to see the funny side of this supposed “horror story”.

My wife Jane tells me that ‘Little Women’ (Film, 2019) is faithful to the book, bar one or two tinkerings, the main one being that Jo’s bloke was not such an obvious hunk.

And yes, she said, the Louisa May Alcott original really is overloaded sentimentally, and so overloaded in this case that more than once I had the headline ‘Little Women on the Prairie’ running through my head. Still, it is what it is: a sentimental feelgood Christmas movie.

Pugh’s performance (as Amy March) was matched in excellence by that of Saorise Ronan as Jo March. There is one stand-out moment when she acts with her eyes only, something she is very good at. 

In the scene she is simply pictured mid-portrait, clasping a newly published copy of ‘Little Women’. Her face tells us both how elated she is to have made the gain, but devastated at the loss that got her there.

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