Little Women

Emma Watson, Florence Pugh, Saoirse Ronan and Eliza Scanlen star in “Little Women.”

Will this be the year when acclaimed director Greta Gerwig grabs the golden gizmo for best director? I would not at all be surprised. “Little Women” is certainly good enough to deserve the Oscar. Maybe after six other film versions and numerous TV iterations, we finally got it just exactly right.

Louisa May Alcott brought out one of the most famous and beloved novels in American literature in two chunks in 1868 and 1869. The tale combines big parts of her memories of her life with her three sisters with additions from her imagination. The four daughters made up what her dad called his “Little Women.” While father served in the Union Army, stomping out the national crime of slavery, the four girls and their mother made do as best they could in 19th-century Massachusetts.

Gerwig also adapted the original story to the big screen. A talent with two Oscar nominations so far, Gerwig stuffed her cast with other Oscar winners and nominees.

Her young cast serves her well. In the prime role, Gerwig cast three-time Oscar nominee Saoirse Ronan. I first saw her as a teenage assassin in “Hanna.” She has a unique and distinctive look. She acts with great animation and delicate subtlety. Emma Watson (“Harry Potter”), Eliza Scanlen and Florence Pugh play the other sisters. Pugh will play the “Black Widow” in that major production next year.

Other noted actors in “Little Women” include Laura Dern (two Oscar noms) and Chris Cooper, an Oscar winner. We just saw him in “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.” Timothée Chalamet, the boy next door in the film, also has an Oscar nomination. He comes from New York, never mind his French-looking name.

The eccentric, wealthy aunt has American Grand Dame Meryl Streep playing her. To see her in anything just delights the movie-going public. She has three Oscars and more nominations than anyone else in history.

“Little Women” rates a strong four saw blades. It runs for a good long two hours and 14 minutes. This delightful film has a mild, family-friendly PG rating. It will find favor with boys, girls, men and women.

The only woman so far to earn an Oscar for best director is Kathryn Bigelow who quite rightly won hers for “Hurt Locker.”

Gerwig made her debut as a stand-alone director with “Lady Bird” which garnered five Oscar nominations. She reunites cast members Tracy Letts, Saoirse Ronan and Timothee Chalamet from “Lady Bird” in “Little Women.”

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