I've just seen Greta Gerwigs Little Women. I hadn't, previously, read the book; in fact I knew so little about it I assumed it was in the cannon of the Bronte Sister and Jane Austen at the like... That's how little I knew about it. But hey - it's a fucking masterpiece I just wanted to reflect on a few things that I think might be useful to think about when it comes to telling our own stories.
The first question to ask is: why revive this now? And I think there are a million answers; The film is, quite clearly, female centric but I think it would be foolish to limit our reaction to one of the state of women today. Hear me out right... The Jokers first scene is about a union of Garbage Men striking which sets the tone for the film being about class struggle; The Joker is a vulnerable man who has his support network destroyed, his medication and therapy cancelled, and is then taunted by the media and the elite so he lashes out and becomes a hero. Lets think of Little Women through that lens (bare with me I know the female lens is pivitol here I just wanna explore something). The back drop of the lives of the sister is a Civil War; a country litterally divided and what we see in the film is essentially a homage to the unconditional love of family throughout the most brutal war, poverty, sickness and death. This film is the film that Trumps America and Great Britains Brexit needs; it's a celebration of love, togetherness, kindness and union and teaches us that no matter what happens what we need is love if we are ever to survive or, yet alone, thrive.
Thinking about the film as a veichile for holding establishment to account through love and connection it's also well worth thinking about the editor of Volcano Press. He plays by the rules, sells things, but doesn't think of art as a way to challange the status quo. He doesn't listen he doesn't do anything. He thinks he knows best and dictates it.. He treats art as a bussiness. When his children say they love the book he is shocked. Now if the film is about speaking to power (which she literally is doing) then it's also saying that we have to speak our truths to the aleinated, ivory towered, gate keepers in order to get our voices heard and they won't listen until it benifits them. The same applies to challanging our biggest companies about their role in the climate change; they won't do anything until it makes them money. We have to find ways to make our change that is profitable to the people who can make that change.Frank talks of "Shakespeare managed to smuggle truth through populism" (sic). This is great lesson for us all to learn. We need to find a form for our voice that is that is consumable by the masses whilst sticking to our guns about the world we want to see. That's what being an artist is. That is exactly what the film has done its self. Made us look at our nation, at ourselves, at our roles in society through a massive brand and done with the playfulness and beauty that we might expect of Greta Gerwig. It is, exactly, what the film is asking its self to be. Art that can change word through celebrating the ordinariness of life and making what we think is signficant as significant (as they talk about near the end).
This film hits the nerve strings because it reminds of the love that is lacking in our lives; the siblings and parents that find us funny and cute and laugh all the time. In Jo we see the dream of being an Artists very the reality and demands of family. In Amy we see the need to feel special against the responsibility and limitations of social conventions and expectations. In Emma Watson we see and CELEBRATE the ordinary; the nature of love; the beauty of the every day; the perfectness of every day. In Beth we see the death of innocence and the joy of our childhood passions. In all of them, together, we see our life right now; what we want to be, who society is making us, how much we need love and how much we need to keep our childhood passions alive if we are to experience joy.
I'm not going to examine the feminist perception of all this because there will be a fuck load of people better informed, more educated, and more appropriate to do so but I will say this; it really hit a nerve with me that she got lonely despite refusing marriage and then she found something when her book was published. What happens next? Will it sustain her? Fuck knows. Genuinely intrigued about the need to be free and the human need to loved. Not just in women but in every one.
Asthetically the film is mint; it's palate is beautiful, the music is classy, and it doesn't feel antiquated. It feels relevant. Maybe this is because of some of the innovative cinematic language. Maybe it's because we know the actors. Maybe it's because it's playful... I think it's it's brightness; it's constant loveliness. It's celebration of love matches the tone of it. It's the film we need now. It's a call to Carpe Diem because it tells us, quite frankly, that our loved ones die and we need to love them before they do.
The film is everything; historical, modern, playful, human, and it's just fucking good. She is a brilliant film maker and the levels in this film are sublime. All the actors are boss.
Top props also to Louisa May Alcott.