Brow Beat

The Glowing First Reactions to Greta Gerwig’s Little Women Single Out One Character in Particular

In a scene from Little Women, Chalamet stands behind Pugh, looking down as if buttoning the back of her dress.
Timothée Chalamet and Florence Pugh in Little Women.
Columbia Pictures

Despite being only a child at the story’s beginning, Amy March is perhaps the most divisive character in Little Women, either a materialistic manuscript-burner or a misunderstood dreamer, depending on whom you ask. But so far critics are united in how they feel about the character in Greta Gerwig’s upcoming adaptation of the novel, which screened Wednesday night in Los Angeles. Predictably, there was plenty of praise for star Saoirse Ronan as Jo March, but a surprising amount of adoration was directed at Florence Pugh as the youngest March sister.

The movie’s release on Dec. 25 will cap off a meteoric year for 23-year-old Pugh, who had her first lead role in Fighting With My Family and then starred in Ari Aster’s Midsommar. (If you haven’t already learned how to properly pronounce her name, now’s the time. It’s “pew,” like the Star Wars gun noise, not “pooh” like the hungry bear or the grinning emoji.) Whereas the 1994 adaptation of Little Women saw two actresses, Kirsten Dunst and Samantha Mathis, play Amy at different ages, Pugh flies solo here. And from the sound of it, that choice pays off:

Other early reactions praised Meryl Streep (obviously) as well as Gerwig’s treatment of the source material. Kyle Buchanan tweeted that the movie’s flashback structure is “Louisa May Alcott meets 21 GRAMS,”* while David Sims called it “a genuinely thrilling adaptation that actually wrestles with the book rather than just render it.” But just how much does it incorporate the rest of the Louisa May Alcott expanded universe? We’ll have to wait and see.

Correction, Oct. 24, 2019: This post originally misquoted Buchanan’s tweet as “Little Women meets 21 Grams.”