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Yes No Maybe So: Greta Gerwig's "Little Women"

by Eurocheese

Greta Gerwig's follow up to the brilliant Lady Bird looks like a potential Christmas smash hit waiting to happen. Can it stick the landing with such high expectations? Well, if the trailer is any indicator, we may be in for a treat. The Yes No Maybe So™ breakdown follows after the jump...


• Goodness, what a cast! Saoirse's spunky attitude and ability to convey so much with her face makes her a perfect fit for wild child Jo, and of course Chalamet is perfect as the swoon-worthy Laurie. It doesn't stop there, though: Emma Watson looks regal as grown-up sister Meg; Laura Dern's motherly tone makes her a perfect fit for Marmee; and though we don't see much of her in the trailer, Eliza Scanlen's wonderful work in Sharp Objects suggests Beth is in good hands as the unsung sister. The trailer is so packed with big names, it's hard to know where to look.

• Much like Lady Bird, where Gerwig made a point of saying she wanted every scene to feel like it was beautifully shot, this trailer is absolutely gorgeous. Cinematographer Yorick Le Saux has worked on other beauties such as Personal Shopper and I Am Love, so we'll have lush images in store.

• Desplat doesn't need any more Oscars but,from the little we hear or what's to come (trailers don't always use the forthcoming score), he'll be in the mix again.

• Gerwig's dialogue feels sharp and fresh. We have seen her generously handle multiple female perspectives in her last film - something that is incredibly rare to see on film these days - and this film is ripe with possibilities. Hearing Jo's demand for women to be treated as equals and Meg's response that she's allowed to have her own dreams... beautiful. Every little girl in the country should get to hear those words.

• The advice to female writers? "Short and spicy" and married by the end? Perfectly paired with Jo punching Laurie.


• As enamored as I am with the trailer, it's a bit distracting that Amy looks the same age as her sisters. Past versions have excused some of her behavior based on immaturity but will this one? 

• There are perfectly good reasons for not putting her front and center, but I was hoping for more Beth in the trailer.


• Meryl makes for a fine snarling villain, but is she taking up too much air in the room here? I'm hoping she doesn't serve as a distraction. Sometimes she's too much (Mary Poppins Returns would be an example) but sometimes she provides the best moments of a crowded film (Suffragette, A Prairie Home Companion), so we'll see.

• The trailer feels so modern despite the setting, but can Gerwig pull that off for the entire film? Though I wonder about certain aspects of the story being brought up to date, Gerwig deserves a vote of confidence that the emotions will ring true.

Well, I'm an ecstatic YES overall. How about you?


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Reader Comments (47)

I love Gerwig and this cast - but the trailer gave me way too much - tease me, don't tell me everything!

Also, they should have saved Meryl for the very end - just a one liner would have done. It is the tiniest part.

August 13, 2019 | Unregistered Commentermorganb

Look, I understand what Gerwig is trying to do but this is much more "no" than "yes" for me. Much more.

August 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterH

I am a Greta Gerwig's fan and I think she should had been nominated for the Oscar for Frances Ha (Best Actress, Original Screenplay) and 20th Century Women (Best Supporting Actress), but Lady Bird... I hate Lady Bird! Laurie is outstanding but stop there for me!

Than... I watched Little Women trailer today and the ball scene kills me inside and I am totally yes!! And I really hope Meryl don't fuck here! I am not a fan of Meryl since Devil Wears Prada and I really hope she is in the tone in this movie.

Will be a Christmas hit!!

August 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterGeor

Yes yes yes.

Saoirse is in for Actress as far as I am concerned.

I think Florence might get in for Supporting.

I simply cannot wait.

August 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterKeegan

I hope Meryl's role isn't like the one in THE HOMESMAN -- she totally takes you out of that movie in there given that it's a cameo at the very end. Nothing wrong with her performance but it's such a huge star to have in a disposable cameo at film's end.

I'm interested to see what Gerwig does with this. I'm a yes on Gerwig alone but am not a fan of Watson and the casting feels odd to me with all of the sisters feeling the same age.

That said, this looks like it has fresh energy to it which is probably a good sign.

August 13, 2019 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

YYYEEESSSS all the way!

August 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterRyan T.

It's gonna be hard for me not to compare Saoirse to Winona's version, which I adore and watch almost every Christmas. I know it's an unpopular opinion, but I love Winona's performance and she's THE Jo March in my head. Will this film shake that off? It doesn't look different enough from the 1994 Gillian Armstrong version to think that it's doing anything fresh or newer. I'm a Maybe.

August 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterCris

Okay, like... I "get" it. I "get" what you're doing Ms. Gerwig, and I don't understand some of the Twitter mentions of some of the performances being too "modern" when clearly just about everyone's playing the material like it's a movie made for Freeform.

But, ick.

Also, I'm not a huge fan of the colors chosen for the movie, as it makes everything and everyone sickly and drab. Maybe it's just some preliminary grading and won't reflect the look in the end?

A rental, but I see nothing here that warrants a visit to the cinema. Still, even Gerwig's gotta just have fun sometimes. :)

Also, minus points for no Louis Garrel shots!

August 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterManny

It's like a Lady Bird reunion, minus the best part of Lady Bird (Laurie Metcalf for life!).

The casting is a little bland and expected for my liking. I'm going to pass.

August 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterMike

I am a yes for the cast, Gerwig, and I want to look forward to something at Christmas, which is not my favorite holiday. It feels modern in a good way. Saoirse looks great.

August 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJono

I'm confused: who is playing young Amy? Florence Pugh is clearly to old to play Amy at 13. This is strange. Nevertheless, my mind is open, but I cannot see anyone surpassing Gillian Armstrong's masterpiece.

August 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterIshmael

No. Huge pass.

August 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterMax

Yes, I believe this cast was put together to please me, so I will be going.
Although I've never loved the novel the way that some people do.

August 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterLadyEdith

Maybe. I think I would have preferred Gerwig’s take on a modern retelling.

I love Meryl but some of these roles seem like gimmicky cameos. Like Pacino in Once Upon a Time, her mega star ACTING takes me out of these films.

Florence Pugh is 5’4” , 23 and younger than Saoirse and Emma, but she has a deep voice and an older presence so it does seem like she’s not a great fit for the Amy role. We’ll see. Mark my words, she is one to watch.

August 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterPam

Not for me -but my niece will want to see it- plenty of Oscar bait- not just in the cast but the costumes and cinematography

August 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJaragon

Y'all are idiots. This is going to be amazing.

August 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterShmeebs

I was a no on paper (I'm not a fan of remakes in general) but the trailer has changed my mind. This feels solid in both performances and visuals. Now I'm looking forward to seeing it.

August 13, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterzig

"I know it's an unpopular opinion, but I love Winona's performance and she's *the* Jo March in my head."

Unpopular opinion? In which corners? In what language? I always figured that Ryder's performance in Little Women (1994) is highly, highly regarded.

Anyway, I'm a Y-E-S! Gerwig and Ronan have a lot of goodwill, and wouldn't it be wild if Watson, who stepped in for Emma Stone, got an Oscar nom for this after Stone took Watson's place in La La Land?

August 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterMareko

I too love Winona Ryder's performance in the 1994 version.

As for this one: I'd like to see it - not sure if it will work, but worth a shot. Anything with Saoirse Ronan or Timothée Chalamet is an instant plus, and here we have both of them.

August 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterEdward L.

Considering how weak the 1994 Actress nominations were overall, having ignored the best from that year, Ryder should have been a shoo-in, especially since she lost the year previous to Paquin.

I love her in Reality Bites, but her Jo captures Ryder’s very best sensibilities without the comfort of a modern setting. A true “born to play” role. She absolutely nails it.

I’m an unabashed lover of the book and the 1994 adaptation, so my reactions to this are in part reactionary. I’m also just tired of the modernization of everything to appease some audience or need, or even a self-awareness or to be “radical.”

Eh. We’ll see.

August 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterManny

My main concern is the cast. I can almost hear the producers saying: "Let's bring all the actors with the most devoted fanbases on Twitter!"

I love Lady Bird and I hope this one goes well enough because Hollywood is not particulary forgiving when it comes to actresses and their failures.

August 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

Little Women is studio IP in the same way that Spiderman is. I know people get attached to the version that they grew up with, but this book will continually be remade now and forever for $$$. And frankly, it's fine with me to have multiple versions that young audiences fall in love with. Better that than some murder fest.

August 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterAmy, Age 9

Saoirse can do no wrong in my eyes, and I'm a fan of Gerwig's sensibilities as an actress and director, but there's something off about this trailer. It looks too dark (visually), there are scenes that you need to strain your eyes to make out what's happening or who's in scene. Then there are other scenes that look like they were lit with the brightest LEDs they could find. So I don't agree that the cinematography looks spectacular because to me it is looking underwhelming I'm that department. And I have to agree that Streep feels like a wrongly cast cameo. When she doesn't have a character arc to work with, it is merely Streep showing up for a wig and costume party. It does take you out of the movie.

Sigh, we'll see. I hope I'm wrong

August 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJones

Loved the trailer!
Streep looks great.... not sure how we can judge that she’s over the top in that but ... ok.
From the trailer alone looks to be a bit more than a cameo- Streep has a scene with Jo, a scene with amy, probably more scenes with Amy in europe ( she is picture in the carriage) and she is also seen at Meg’s wedding and whatever else they did not show.
I am a YES- perfect for Xmas

August 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJamie

PragerU Video - True for You but Not for Me

August 13, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterst

OH HELL YEAH!!!!! Although, is anyone else here tired of teaser bits for the actual trailer? I'm getting sick of that shit.

August 13, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterthevoid99

Duh, YES. I'm glad that it looks modern and Gerwig is taking risks with the material.

I understand many have fond memories of the 1994 from childhood, but it's also not as though it's an unimpeachable masterpiece. (Ryder is a little self-conscious in period pieces for my taste. Ronan does not have that problem. Neither did Hepburn in the 1933 version - she was a great Jo March.)

August 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

The March sisters are all close in age. If I recall correctly, at the beginning of the book they're 16, 15, 13, and 12, and they've aged 10-15 years by the end. Obviously that's some tricky continuity to pull off with actresses on film, especially for the younger sisters.

August 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterCash

To be fair, it's easier not to be self-conscious in a period piece when it's a period piece in design only.

But I do agree Ronan is a much stronger technical actress than Ryder, though, and this is nostalgia aside, Ryder is much funnier and much more magnetic, but she's also been in more films than Ronan.

I love both of them, just wanted to give Ryder and Armstrong their due once more. ;)

One more thing: is being modern even considered a "risk" anymore when it's done so readily on the eve of a new adaptation of something? Risky to me would have been to go even more old school than the 1994 adaptation. Or reverse the gender role. Or have no gender, period!

August 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterManny

I was not inclined to be interested in the material -- here for Gerwig, Ronan, Chalamet -- but wasn't enthusiastic. The trailer comes across as quite a crowd pleaser (not necessarily for the good), but damn, it's gorgeous. And double damn Chalamet is gorgeous. But I hope Ronan gets something more interesting in the near future. If this is a big hit, it could be a major Oscar player with Gerwig, Ronan, and Chalamet all being due.

August 13, 2019 | Unregistered Commentermikey67

Wow. This thread exploded like a firecracker. I like the trailer and we know Streep is metaphorically passing the torch. She still has amazing box office pull at 70 and Ronan is potentially as great.

August 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterTom Ford

Gerwig and Chalamet are incredibly not "due." That's just preposterous poppycock.

But it's YOUR poppycock, so believe away, this is just another opinion. :)

August 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterManny

Resounding yes to all of it.

August 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJ.B.


Any chance this’ll play at TIFF? I can’t wait until Christmas!

August 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterBrad

This is the third adaptation in three years. A less inspired LADY BIRD follow up is virtually unimaginable.

I’m trying to be neutral, because it’ll probably be good. But I’m disappointed.

August 14, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterRoger

I don't know what y'all are smoking, but this looks fantastic. Saoirse's passionate monologue at the end of the trailer sold me completely. I got teary-eyed watching her. She's a marvelous actress and Gerwig is just the best. I have high hopes for this.

August 14, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterAaron

A reminder to everyone that Saoirse Ronan should have three Oscar wins on five nominations. She is loooooong overdue for her statue. Incredible to say that about a 25-year-old. I would put her in my list of top 10 greatest actresses of all time.

August 14, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterSteve

Y’all, Meryl has two outfits in this movie (look in the background of the shot at Meg’s wedding) so this is definitely more than a “disposable cameo.”

August 14, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterEva

I'm a yes. I like the look of the trailer and trust that Greta Gerwig has a vision for this adaptation. The only real question mark for me is Emma Watson. Good thing Meg is not the make or break factor in any Little Women adaptation.

August 14, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterRobert G

Absolute YES! Queen Saoirse is coming for her Oscar! (The one that she should have won for "Lady Bird", but I digress...)

August 14, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterWesley

Yes for everything except Emma Watson. That casting is still a huge bummer for me personally.

August 14, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterBrittani

It's an awesome cast and it will undoubtedly be very good, but it won't unseat the 1994 version for me. Not just for the performances, but for Robin Swicord's outstanding screenplay. Gerwig is very talented, but she's not the writer that Swicord is. (Too bad Swicord is more famous for being Zoe Kazan's mom these days!)

I'm one of those rare folks who was seriously disappointed in Lady Bird after hearing it praised and hyped for months. I found it an alright but undistinguished coming of age film... Of course, I'm in my sixties and have seen loads of coming of age films, lots more than most of you.

But I agree that Ronan should already have won Oscars for several roles (especially her luminous performance in Brooklyn), she's one of our best young actresses.

August 14, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterDoctor Strange


August 14, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterDeborah Lipp

It's a Yes for me!! 😁

Saoirse looks gr8 n promising in her take as Jo March!! Chalamet, Dern, Watson n Meryl looking good too n the cinematography is so gorgeous, n music so lush!!

It really looks an inspired take fr Gerwig! 😁

My person opinion: Winona seems so fragile n delicate n a bit self conscious in the 1994 version, as pointed out in earlier comments. I'd prefer Kate Hepburn's spunky n tomboyish Jo!! 😁

August 15, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterClaran

Total YES.

August 15, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterFr

Yes.. Ronan, Watson, Dern and Streep... 👍🏾👍🏾👍🏾

August 19, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterDonald

Looking forward to this adaption of Little Women. I loved the 94 version where Ryder made a fantastic Jo, and now Ronan takes on the role. Saoirse's such an impressive actor and playing Jo is a mouth-watering prospect. Trailer looks superb with Ronan again the standout!

August 30, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterReeder

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