Little Women

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S1: Right now.

S2: Shiell in great shape.

S3: What’s in the box?

S2: Yo, yo, yo, yo.

S4: Hi, this is Dana Stevens here with another Slate Spoiler special podcast. This week, we’re talking about Little Women, the Greta Gerwig adaptation of the classic Louisa May Alcott novel, which is not being released until Christmas Day in good holiday movie style. This is actually more of a Christmas movie than than I realized going in. It opens at it on a Christmas scene.

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S5: Yes. I was just thinking that this movie belongs in a canon. I’ve invented of movies called Figgy Pudding Movies, which is like where everything is very twinkly and cozy and snowy. And you sort of stand outside the window panes of this movie and you want to come in. It just looks really warm and inviting.

S4: Yeah, it has that kind of dollhouse yatta and it kind of invites you in. Do you think it’s a movie that that isn’t just a beautiful object that you look at, but that does have a kind of intimacy that draws the viewer in and we can get into that. I mean, that has also to do with the way that it’s a period film, but not a period film, you know, that has a lot of modern touches as well. All right. The voice that you just heard over there was Miko’s Boileau this week, Rachel Syme, who you’re a freelance writer writer or I write for The New Yorker, The New York Times.

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S6: Mostly The New Yorker these days. I yeah. Writer, critic, lover of little women. Yes.

S4: And we saw it together. Which was it? Yaari And I was saying before we started that we really have hit the jackpot with the movies and TV shows that were spoiled together because all three of them that I can remember have been movies. We’ve loved Phantom Thread. We talked about Russian Doll with Willa Paskin on TV and now he did. Woman A Star is born. That’s right. That’s right. So, yeah, I mean, they’ve all been movies basically in my pantheon and that made it to the top 10 for that year, et cetera, et cetera. So we have not yet had to get bitchy about a single movie and I think the show. So let’s try to get into this one and why we both connected with it so much to start with. I think we both came out saying, wow, this is the best adaptation of little women I’ve ever seen. And given the fact that I think you especially but I also have very warm memories of Gillian Armstrong version. Yeah. 94. Yes. And then, of course, we have, you know, going back in history. George Cukor making one with Katharine Hepburn. Yeah. I mean, it’s a much adapted property. And I just wonder what it is about this one that made us both land almost immediately on this declaration that it was the best one we’d seen.

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S7: Well, I feel like if I talk about why I think it’s the best adaptation I’ve seen, I’m going to give away the ending right away, because for me, the last 10 minutes of the movie, push it over the top. And we can get to why I have such strong feelings about the 1994 version, because that’s the one I grew up on. It was really my introduction to Winona Ryder as an actress. I know a lot of people found her in Beetlejuice and other films, but for me, she was my Jo March.

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S5: It was my introduction to Kirsten Dunst, who is a fabulous in that version as young Amy. I loved that version. But I will say that that version is a lot less modern feeling and a lot less adult than this version and maybe more saccharin and a little bit more modlin.

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S7: I thought that this version, what Gretta managed to do was still have all the sentimentality of little women because that book is a sentimental book. I mean, when when Beth dies, sorry to spoil it for you, you’re supposed to feel your heartstrings just tugging. But what I thought Gretta did that was so interesting was she pushed it into a really modern place in it. It didn’t always feel so syrupy.

S4: Yeah, well, so without talking about the ending, which we will as a spoiler special, but we will try to save it a little bit. But besides the ending, where were some of those touches of modernity for you? I mean I would say that one big one for me was the casting of Laura Dern as marmy, who is maybe one of the most potentially sentimental figures in the book. Right, because she’s right. Flawless mother who’s completely self-sacrificing and giving and really quite preachy. I mean, it didn’t really strike me that way as a child when I loved this book. Right. But but really, almost everything she says to her children is some sort of Christian lecture.

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S7: Right. And she’s considered the perfect mother because she’s given up so much. She married an a man who is a teacher and an artist rather than a rich person. She gives everything that she has to her for girls and everything leftover beyond that. She gives to the needy in the community. For example, there’s that famous scene where she has the March sisters give their Christmas breakfast to the down the lane neighbors who are living in abject poverty. That’s just to marmy as she’s just basically like, you know, a good Samaritan through and through. And I think the casting Laura Dern was really interesting because she does have that feel like so warm and bubbly. And the minute they open the door and Laura Dern is there and she’s welcoming, they come home from a party. We meet her for the first time. They come home from a party late at night. Meg, who’s played by Emma Watson, has sprained her ankle. She’s brought home by her sister Joe, played by Sir Sharon and this version and by Laurie, their next door neighbor who’s this foppish, rich boy played by Timothy Shalvey. And she opens the door and there’s Marmee and she’s glowing and it’s Laura Dern. But there’s something of an edge to her character now.

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S8: Yeah, and there’s just something ineluctably modern about Laura Dern. You know, she can be in period costume, but she’s not gonna become a period actress. And there’s that speech that Grétar wrote in. That is so great where she and Joe are sitting on the floor.

S5: And Joe says, you’re so patient, you’re so kind, you’re never angry. And Laura Dern, as marmy says, I’m angry every day of my life. And the way that she delivers that line feels so modern. Like almost every woman in the theater is speaking through marmy at that point, which is, of course, I’m angry. I have so much to deal with. My husband’s in the war. I have four daughters. We are living at the edge of the sort of poverty border. And yet I hold it together because it’s taken years of my life to figure out how to do that. But it’s a learned practice.

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S4: Yeah. That line was my favorite line. Laura Durin gets and was one of the few critics I might make of this movie as I wish that there was more Laura Dern and more Marmee and that she had a little bit more backstory so that we knew, for example, when she said, I’m angry almost every day that we didn’t have to just extrapolate about what she might be angry about.

S8: Moore Laura Dern. Moore. Meryl Streep. Natalie Moore. Meryl Streep. Well, a sad thing is that we never see at March’s last days, right? I mean, March becomes this important character and her death is very important because she ends up winning her house to Joe, who makes it into a school, but we never get to say goodbye to it march in this version. And that made me a bit sad. Yeah. I mean, there are little things that Meryl Streep does in this movie as an march that are some of the best moments in the movie because in classic Meryl Streep Flash and she can steal a scene without saying a single word, for example, at Meg’s wedding. She’s asked to dance a few times, once by Laurie and once by Lori’s grandfather. Both times she demurs in the most ice queen cold classic like Aunt March Way. Of course, Merrill is radiant in that. But, you know, I wish there was more of her as ever. Yeah, I actually love that. She doesn’t give much, much of a generous twinkle at all if she pretty much is just a bitch through and through. Oh my god. From the moment you meet her. So let’s go to the girls since it is about the little women. Maybe start with just the casting. Let’s go down the line about each girl who’s been cast. Sure. So, Joe, the main character of this movie and one might argue of the book, for she is the kind of on the page avatar of Louisa May Alcott. Jo March has played in this version by Shasha Ronin. I think it’s Serta. I mean, she’s so many dibler Sharon. I don’t have my Irish lilt, but someone who can and can correct this.

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S5: I remember reading somewhere that when Gretta told her I think sometime around the making of Ladybird that she was going to do a little women, Sasha said to her, I must be Jo. And it wasn’t even, I think, gritties initial idea for casting. But she said, This will be my part. And I wonder if that was before or after Lady Bird. You know, I don’t know. I don’t remember. I read it in an interview with her. I think it was in Variety or The Hollywood REPORTER. But I think what’s interesting about that is we think of it as great casting now because Jo is spirited, just like searches. She is creative and strong willed. But in the books, Jo is supposed to be not traditionally beautiful, often thought of as almost too tomboyish to be considered pretty. She’s Aqualung think she’s got a lot of things. She’s a little Midian playing. Yeah, she stomps around. She always is burning her dress or has mud on her dress or schmutz on her, or she’s just kind of like hapless and obviously searches such a graceful sort of live performer. It’s not what you would normally think.

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S8: Yeah. I mean, this goes back in some ways to just the Hollywood beauty upgrade that always Winona Ryder to hell. Yeah. And that was part of why I have to say I think Winona was kind of miscast in that part. I still have incredibly fond memories of the movie and Winona as an actor, but I never really believed her as Joe. I didn’t quite believe her as a writer. And part of it was that the speeches that Wenonah makes about I’m the plain one are just really, really hard to buy because at that point she was just like, this is dazzling rightous. And here you have Sasha, also phenomenally gorgeous, but she’s stripped down a little bit. She wears no makeup in the movie. She has these amazing ringlets, but then she chops them off at some point for charity. And so you have her in sort of a short pixie ish cut. That’s not so becoming. There are a few concessions of her vanity. I might have given her a chestnut mane where I. The costumer for this movie. Yes. She has this gorgeous strawberry blonde hair that is just like flaxen and beautiful and feels very bota celli ask and maybe not quite as spartan New England as Joe should be, but it does make it believable.

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S4: One of the funniest lines of the movie, which is straight from the book, when she cuts off the hair to sell to help her father at the battlefront. Amy’s response her bready younger sister Amy is Joe.

S6: You’re one beauty and the way Florence Q delivers that line. I mean, there’s different ways to do Joe your one beauty and the way she does it. It’s the most comical way she is. Joe, you’re.

S9: One beauty got such a big laugh.

S5: And I want to talk about the other sisters and I think we should, but I think in my mind, Florence Pugh is the breakout star of this film. Amy is a very difficult character. She’s a little bit of a sadist as a child. She hurts people for the joy and goal of hurting them. She ends up growing up to marry Laurie, which obviously is very controversial because Laurie was Joe’s sort of childhood almost love best friend asks her to marry him. She turned him down and then Laurie and Amy get together. And it’s a fraught situation. Obviously, it’s a difficult character because she could be so unlikable. And I think Florence has that amazing quality of being someone you root for, even as she’s being completely almost psychopathic.

S4: Yes. Yes. She’s very funny, which is just so unexpected in this role. I mean, she’s funny when she burns the manuscript, which is the most horrible thing she does to him. By page. Watching it burn. Watching the world burn. Just her little eyes twinkling. Oh, and the fact that they chose the costumer chose to put her in those angel wings. Right. Because the girls often in this. And we’ll talk about costumes later on. Have you interviewed the costume designer? But the girls are often running around in things that are halfway out of a costume trunk.

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S7: Yeah, like from their fairy box. And in this scene, another famous scene from little women. For all you little women fans out there is the scene where Joe and her older sister man go to the theater, leaving the two younger sisters home alone. Amy is very resentful of this. She wishes she could come to the theater, partly because she’s in love with Laura, who’s going to the theater with them, partly because she just feels like she’s the sister who’s always left behind because she’s the baby of the family and she decides she’s going to hurt Joe in the most craven way possible. She goes up, she finds Joe’s beloved manuscript of a novel she’s working on and burns it page by page. And at this point, she’s wearing angel wings because they have a fairy box and up in the attic in their costume, sort of. They have a band of Mary players. They put on plays together and they she’s wearing these angel wings. So it’s just this great juxtaposition of the angel and the devil at the same time. And that’s Amy.

S4: Yeah, that’s a really, really great costume choice. And and then there’s several just funny moments connected with the book burning, including just her, the way she runs after them the next day with her skates. I mean, she just is not afraid to embody. The younger sister passed at her most pestilent. She’s as she’s running after them, insisting that she skate with them even after she’s done this horrible thing to her older sister.

S5: But I think it’s important to talk about. Why I think Florence Pugh is the best amy. I’ve ever seen, because that character has to have an arc, has to be somebody who you understand why they are the way they are. And I think it was a combination of her acting, which I just love that husky baritone voice of hers. It’s just one of most beautiful voices I’ve heard on an actor. And then it’s immediately sort of carom million warm makes you want to root for her. But also it’s the writing because what Gretta did was give Amy this amazing speech in Paris. I think we can talk about where she gives up on her art. So basically, Aunt March has taken Amy to Europe with her as her companion. In the second half of the movie, though, we’re gonna talk a little bit about how Greta Gerwig plays with time so that you’re constantly flashing back and forward. And so she you see Amy in Europe at the beginning, but you understand how she got there later. She’s brought with ant marches her companion. She’s there to take painting lands lessons ostensibly, but also she’s there to find a rich husband. And it is because her and has told her you are your family’s economic hopes. If you don’t marry wealthy, your family will be basically penniless. So it’s completely up to you to sort of seal this deal. That’s what life is like for women in the 1860s. That’s what we’re we’re facing. And Amy gives this speech because she’s in her painting studio. Lori’s there. He’s found his way to Paris as well. And she’s going to give up on her painting.

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S4: Yeah. I mean, it’s a couple different things, right? I mean, there’s there’s the part where she gives up on her painting, which is kind of savage. I mean, it makes you wonder to me. I wonder in the in the sequel to this of Greta Gerwig were to go on and make little women, too. Would she ever take up painting again or is she really renouncing it there forever? But but essentially that goes along with this very uncompromising person. We’ve seen m.e.b. from the beginning. Right. I mean, passion in a different way than Joe, very definite about her beliefs. And she just decides if I can’t be a genius, if I can’t be the greatest painter ever. I’m not going to be what she calls a pitiful dauber or something like that. And we see her stacking up her canvases to give away. Then in that same scene, really one of the best scenes in the movie, I think Laurie confronts her about whether or not she’s going to marry Fred Vaughn, who’s the the rich guy that she’s been introduced to, I guess, back in the U.S., but is now touring with chasing around Europe and and seems to be about to get engaged to. And she’s pretty divine, says, you know, yes, I may get engaged to him, even though I may not love him. She seems to imply and now I wish I could remember the exact wording of she says if I had children, they would be his.

S7: And if I own property, it would be his. And if you think that getting married is not an economic proposition, maybe it’s not for you, right? It is for me. It’s so simultaneously pragmatic and clear eyed and a little bit cold. And I think that’s who Amy is. But it also gives you a lot of sympathy for her because she’s had this pressure on her ever since she was young to marry well, to rise above her station, to sort of hold her family’s economic future in her hands. So you see all these ways that the pressures of her youth are coming to bear on her.

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S4: Right. And that the maturity the girl who at the beginning was the most flighty, the least trustworthy, the most annoying of the four sisters has kind of become the economic hope of the family and the most hard headed of of the four sisters.

S5: Really? Yeah. I mean, a character that is also, I think. Difficult to get right is the caricature of, well, they’re all. All four of them are are tricky. But I think the character of Beth, because there’s a tendency to want to make this sickly girl who loves to stay home. Someone with sort of no personality, or that she’s the one who’s shy and left behind and mousy.

S4: Right. And I was doubting that there could be a Beth that I would like better than Claire Danes. I mean, that’s a very different approach to Claire Danes, as Beth, I would say I don’t remember have not received that movie, which I should actually before talking about this one. And also just cause it’s great. But Claire, I think Claire Danes, as Beth plays a bigger part in that movie, right?

S5: She does a speech when she dies is like seared into my mind as a child, the one where she’s like, everyone’s always leaving and I stay home and now I’m the one going ahead. I’m going to cry thinking about it. And she dies and the window opens like a breeze blows in. And Wenonah writers like head goes back, like basking in like the circle of life. It’s so sad. That’s that scene.

S4: That scene. And also, well, the scene that’s gonna get me we get the mike here thinking about Claire Danes as Beth is where she gets the piano from Mr. Lawrence. I mean, just her sobs, just her. Nobody can have a crumpled face or face.

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S7: Claire Danes crumpled face in the 90s was on parallel. We have a very different Beth in this movie.

S4: Well, among other things, is an unknown. And you are the person who pointed this out coming out of the movie. And I think it’s so true to cast someone who’s not famous, famous. I mean, she has done some television. She’s been on Australian TV as well. Her name’s Eliza Scanlan. She was Sean Sharp, like Jackie.

S5: She plays the B, a very disturbed young teen girl who ends up making dollhouses out of people’s teeth. That’s freaky.

S6: Is that a big part in Sharp? It’s the twist at the very end. Sorry. And other spoilers. Special accident. It’s another very disturbing Gillian Flynn creation of a girl who’s collecting teeth from dead people.

S4: Maybe if you’re a big sharp objects fan, she’s familiar to you. But I do feel like it was a deliberate choice to put these big megastars right. We haven’t even mentioned that. Emma Watson. Yeah, we have Termite Granger Meg. So everybody is a big marquee name in this movie except for Beth. And that I think does go to the character’s shyness and modesty and the fact that she never wants to be in the spotlight. I think it was important.

S5: I think we were talking about this after the film to almost under cast. Beth, I think it’s in a strange way because first of all, Claire Danes looms so large.

S7: And I feel like maybe that through the balance of the movie off originally the 1994 version like Beth shouldn’t be the biggest star in the movie. I mean, obviously, Winona and Claire, I think we’re going toe-to-toe in the 90s.

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S10: But in this case, I think you have to kind of fall in love with Beth as you watch the movie. That’s the way she wrote the book. That’s the way things should unfold where you don’t even know who this person is because she shows shy. And I feel like by the end by her end, I was completely. Sort of inured to that character. And I was so sad that she got scarlet fever.

S4: Well, she has a speech that’s somewhat analogous to what you mentioned is Claire Danes deathbed speech when she’s on that beach blanket assertion. Right. I mean, essentially, the moment that they acknowledge or she at least acknowledges that she’s going to die. Right. And and such as Joe is reading her this story, that is obviously part of the story that will turn out to be little women, the story of the four sisters in their life. And she loves it and says that’s what her sister should be writing and says, keep on writing that even after I’m gone. And then the conversation they have after that is another just a total heart ripper. Because you also see Joe’s fierce refusal to to admit that her sister could possibly disappear, which she basically holds on to right up until the end. She’ll go, don’t fight, will you? Well, right. Yeah.

S7: When I did it before and I’ll do it again because in the film, Beth gets sick twice. This also happens, I think at the book. But in this case, she has scarlet fever because she’s such a good person that she goes to deliver food to this poor family nearby and they are all dying of scarlet fever. And Beth contracts it. And then she kind of has a moment of health and hardiness where she gets better, but it’s weakened her heart. So she ends up sort of dying of heart disease.

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S4: Things were bad in 1860’s. Bad. I mean, the book has so many hard core moments. Yeah, I can see why in a Christmas movie you would not put this in because it is pitch dark. But you remember in the book that the humble baby, the baby of the poor German family who gives her scarlet fever actually dies in her arms.

S5: Yeah. In this in the movie, the doctor says the huml baby has died. But no, in the book it’s so much more brutal. And I think that’s another thing. I wanted to go back to that scene where they’re on the beach and she says, write these stories for me. I think that’s another way that Gretta wonderfully weaves writing and the creation of not only the book Little Women, but just creation and art making in general into the story. Because Beth’s memory and Beth’s insistence that Joe should write stories about their family, even though they’re a little domestic stories about sisters, ends up being the engine that allows her to write this book. And we can get to that in a little bit, which is that the creation of the little woman is in the movie A Little Women, which is great. And the uprising is a white obsessed with writing. And I can haggards it’s a movie obsessed writing. But I think Beth’s death kind of becomes this impetus for Joe to start writing her own story, which kind of is the greatest tribute to Beth’s memory when that great writing montage.

S8: I can’t wait to talk about it. I’ve only had dried-out Magro eyes as that montage. But yes, since we seem to be going sister my sister. Let’s do Meg. Yeah. And then I want to talk about the chopped up temporal nature. Sure. And then we have lots more to get into, including Santé Megafest recast at the last minute. You know that. I know it was going to be Emma Stone, huh? Which would have been a very different. But I am quite sure that I would buy him a stone as much as Meg. Here’s why. Because Emma Stone. She almost seems more like a Joe to me. She seems to have a kind of rebellious in her life. Like there’s a property and a kind of a status consciousness about Meg. Right. Right. Joe wants her to want to be an actress. But you get the feeling that what Meg really wants is what she gets, which is marriage and motherhood. You know, she seems very contented with that and satisfied by the end. Yeah. Though, I mean, there’s always the scene, which in the book I used to love the Daisy scene where Meg goes to a debutante ball and she is renamed by by the other Debs as Daisy.

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S5: And she lives this fantasy for 48 hours, where she is a rich girl from a well-bred family with a floral name and she borrows a dress from a friend. So she’s in this and especially in this movie, it’s a beautiful almost Charles James like pink crinoline, big taffet, a hoop skirt thing. And she is flouncing around and pretending to be someone she’s not and and drinking champagne, drinking.

S6: The book is more judged, I think, than it is. And Laurie is there and he’s so judging her, she says, don’t you like the way I look? And he goes, No, I hate it. This isn’t you.

S5: And she says, Please let me have fun tonight. I will be good for the rest of my life. And I think that it really tells you a lot about Meg’s character, which is that she wants these things, but she knows what the right thing is to do. The movie begins with her buying a very expensive bolt of fabric for a dress at the peer pressure of a friend. And it ends with her selling it off because she needs to buy her husband a winter coat. There’s a certain practicality to make, but also sort of a a wishing for more right.

S4: A desire for luxury, which is kind of manifested throughout in her. You know, she’s kind of the most vain of the girls in a way. I mean, Amy has her vanities, too. But but Meg is the most beautiful, at least the book always cites her as that. Yeah. And and seems very invested in that. I sort of feel like she should have been more dissolute at that party in the movie in order to earn the opprobrium of of Laurie, you know. And really getting tipsy and kind of making a fool of herself, because all she really did was wear a fancy dress.

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S5: I mean, in a strange way, I think I can see Emma Stone in that role also because I thought Emma Watson in a wonderful job, but she has an innate sweetness to her. I think there’s a there’s a kind of a soft edge to Emma Watson where she sort of feels always a little cherubic, a little. But doesn’t that dainty in that suit? Meg It does suit Meg it. And there is almost a sturdiness, but I did think that. There were moments where she could have gone even more. Yeah. Debaucherous at these parties or had moments of really giving into the peer pressure of her friends.

S4: I have no problems with the casting of any of the sisters. Although when I think about him as done that role, I wonder what she could have done differently. I can think of other Joh’s honestly, not because Sasha wasn’t perfect. She was great. But I just think that there are a lot of actresses that might have had that feeling of rebellious fire. Yoenis. I think almost in our modern time, a harder thing to get is the sort of placid sweetness of a major Beth.

S11: Right. And again, a very hard role to act as this almost. Yeah. The sociopathy of Amy sort of being on that thin line between evil and lovable is a very, very difficult and I can’t think of any other actress who could have done it.

S4: I agree, Florance. She was the most surprising. And just to Yatta, one more hilarious Amy moment when she’s making the mold of her feet so that Lori will realize that she has beautiful feet. I make my DVR that Laura will know I have great feet, and then she gets her foot stuck in the cement. Then just walking around in a bucket of cement. I mean, just I really respected that she could pull off the physical.

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S7: Oh, she had such great line readings. There’s one at the end where she’s telling after she’s married Laurie and she’s telling him to go get a carriage ready because they’re going to take Joe to this great denouement. She’s running up the stairs and she just goes.

S6: Laurie, don’t just stand there, get the horses ready. And it tells you everything about what their marriage is going to be like. All right.

S4: I feel like we can’t go further without talking about the structure of the movie. Would you really should have started with because it is the most radical thing. Yeah, I feel sorry if they’re good, but, um. But we had to do a rundown of the sisters because everybody wants to know about the casting. So it takes a little while to get used to what Greta Gerwig is doing with the script temporally, because as you say, we start seven years ahead of most of the events that we’ve just talked about. Right. I mean, falling through the eyes, burning the manuscript, going to the dance, all these teenager things that happened to them have already happened when the movie starts and they’re young adults starting their lives. Well, with the exception of Beth, who is sick, weakened by a previous bout with scarlet fever and is still at home with writer. Yeah, but the other girls are all out and about.

S7: They’re sort of spread to the wind. We begin in the time in their lives where they’re all in different corners of experience and also sometimes geographically. So the first scene of the movie, you meet Joe in New York. She is living there. She’s tutoring and she is selling sort of lurid crime stories to the penny papers to make a living and to send money back to her family. Meg is married with two kids. She married Laurie’s tutor. Amy’s off in Paris painting chasing Fred Von and Beth has its second bed.

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S4: Right. And so we have to establish all four of those thing. Yeah. Before we really get to know who the characters are. And some of that temple scrambling leads to the fact that, for example, a major plot twist here comes a big spoiler. The fact that Joe turns down, Laurie is told to us, I think before either of those characters have been introduced or I guess Joe has been introduced. But Laurie hasn’t been introduced. Their romance has not been introduced. It happens in Paris.

S10: One of the first shots is we flash to Amy, who’s in Paris for that march. She’s in a coach there somewhere and like the Tuileries. And she sees Laurie up somewhere walking in the park. She jumps off this carriage. She embraces him. She hasn’t probably seen him in a year or two. And he’s making his way through Europe on some kind of grand, debaucherous dandy tour. And she says, I’m so sorry Joe turned you down. So that’s where we learn. We learn from another character.

S4: Exactly. I mean, it’s since given that is one of the big surprise twists of the book. Right. I mean, it’s sort of being set up the whole time. The two of them are gonna be in love and whether or not you ship them and wish that they had ended up together. It still is just one of the most heartrending parts of the book that they don’t end up together. And so that’s flagged very, very early on. And we see it coming, which I think is a very deliberate choice in that it colors with melancholy all of the things that you see in their early interactions with Laurie. Yeah.

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S7: And she signposts a lot of things like Beth’s illness, not her death necessarily, though. If you know anything about little women, you know that Beth dies that scene and friends where Rachel is Joey’s reading model and the first for the first time, she wants to ruin it for him. She goes back, dies, and it’s the meanest thing she could say. We know she’s sick. We know how these women’s fortunes are going to turn out, which I think then makes the flashback all the more earned. So then we’re back. They’re all living in the house at the same time and were desperate to know how they got from there to here.

S4: Right. And it’s not just a framing shift. It’s not just that we start off in the future, go back in the past and tell a story and end up in the future. It’s much more sliced and diced than, oh, she jumps back and forth, back and forth.

S5: And I think does a pretty amazing job of keeping you aware of where you are in time through costumes and Joe’s particular hair length at the time and different sort of shadings that, you know, that looks a little darker at certain points, looks a little lighter, but you sort of understand where you are, but sometimes you don’t. And I think that’s also kind of part of the magic of the movie, too. Like when they go on that trip to the beach, just Beth and Joe, you know that it’s some time when.

S7: Joe has returned home to take care of Beth, but you’re not quite sure where it is in the journey and where Amy is in Paris and where Meg is, and you’re sort of trying to figure it all out because there was that earlier trip to the beach.

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S4: You were saying about the lighting is really true because the first trip to the beach is very sunny. Right. It looks like a painting. It’s all very kind of idealic when they have that day on the beach with the boys. And they’re all meeting, you know, in several cases, the boys that they’re going to end up with later on. And she holds things back to that.

S5: I mean, there are so many cry moments in this movie. And I think it’s something we can talk about, which is to say this movie is designed to make you cry. But I don’t think it manipulates you. I just think that the book itself has that. And as she’s trying to capture that essence of the book, that there are just there’s parts of this book that are devastatingly sad. And I think the temporal skips help because she’s holding things back from you that you know, that you want, so that when they finally happen, for example, I’ll just say this one that really stuck with me, which is that over the course of time, they get to know Lorrie and his grandfather who lived next door in this big mansion. And you learn that the grandfather has lost both of his children. Lori is an orphan now and he has this piano that’s in his house, this laying unplayed.

S7: And as the families get to know each other and start to intertwine, he asks if anybody in the March family plays music. Beth says she does. He says, you must come over and play the piano. She starts to come over here to his house regularly and play the piano. And Chris Cooper, who plays Mr. Lawrence, often will come down and just sit there and listen to her play from the hallway. And he’s almost crying. You get the sense that his daughter played and it’s everything that he’s lost as flooding back to him. Beth gives him these beautiful slippers. He gives her his piano, everything.

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S10: Their relationship is sort of built up so that when Beth dies, then Gretta doesn’t give you the scene of Chris Cooper.

S7: Mourning for her until about 30 minutes later in the movie, when he can’t come inside to the house and he runs into Joe on the street. And the fact that that happens, like you didn’t even realize that was coming. It just hits you like a ton of bricks. I think you’re right.

S4: It’s so much more effective than if we had to somehow cut to his house and shown him crying indoors. Right. Heard ryu’s and he and Beth both. And this is not ever stated, but it just comes out in their performances and in the writing. Are these very inward people write extremely reserved. They don’t talk a lot. They don’t tell stories about what motivates them. She’s motivated by music, but never sort of talks about her love of music. It’s all expressed through actually playing and. And he certainly doesn’t talk about his losses or, you know, what it is that about the March girls that’s important to him. And so you really believe that those two people, this old man and this young girl, would have this special quiet connection in the moment when she hugs him, goes to his house to thank him for the piano, and she can’t say anything. So she just throws herself into his arms, is just so lovely, so lovely.

S5: And that’s when she’s already sick. He says, My child, you’re burning. That’s right. He’s the one who discovers that she has scarlet fever. Yeah. I want to take a moment to talk about Laurie. Yes, we have to talk because I think I think we talked about all the women, but there’s a fifth person in their gang who they actually let join their theatricals club. Who is this next door neighbor? Boy, Laurie, who has a is an orphan, but has this rich grandfather and has spent most of his childhood in Europe and therefore is something of just like a FOP. I would say just the costume designer said she was thinking of the British teddy boys when she designed him. You know, these sort of dandy ish boys that would hang around with a pocket chain and smoking cigarettes outside bars. And there’s a sense that Laurie is just indulgent and desperate to please and kind of like a puppy dog chasing Joe, but also kind of a jerk.

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S4: I mean, there’s something about him that Timothy embodies so well, so well that he is not only the best Laury ever on film, but I like him better than the Laury in the book. I mean, I went back and was was reading large chunks of the book to write my review and just sort of remember how what order things occurred and et cetera. And I remember thinking as a girl reading it that I never quite got Lori at the same time. I mean, he was an important character, I think. I remember wanting Joe to get together with him, being very sad that Amy took him away, but it was because of how much the girls valued him. You know, like, I don’t remember personally being in love with Laurie at all. And with Timothy, I am. I get it. I know. I I’m sure, Laurie, I know.

S5: And I thought I had the hots for Christian Bale in the 90s, and I think I did. I mean, he was this young teen idol. But there’s something about his portrayal of Laurie that was just like he was handsome. That’s it. Right. The thing about Timothy is that he has that kind of face that’s heart shaped and angular and just so beautiful that it’s so clear why people would fall in love with him, but also maybe not take him seriously. There’s a kind of delicate ness to his movements. I mean, the way I have to say nobody has ever sat on things or Liow the way that Timothy does in this movie. I mean, he just flops himself over fainting couches and he just sort of has his risks seem to be sort of Gumby like and fluid. I mean, he is just so Dandi ish and his beauty is in his mobility.

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S4: I mean, I would say that. Yeah, from someone like Christian Bale in the 90s to. Right. He’s not he’s not just sort of a statue of male beauty. He’s this very mobile. Cannot answer like.

S5: Yes, he has there’s a there’s a dancer like almost like Baryshnikov, like delicacy. But also he’s acting all the way to the tips of his fingers. And it’s I finally understood, Laurie watching this, because you have to think he is so fun, but he’s just not quite smart enough for her. And he’s a little too vain and a little too worldly and obsessed with travel and find things and could never be with Joe. She understands my life is like mostly me at a desk. Yeah, that’s my right arm.

S4: That you believe her when she turns him down. When she turns him down. The most true thing she says is you wouldn’t be able to stand my scribbling and I wouldn’t be able to stand your, you know, constant partying. Right. I mean, they would just have different ideas of how to fill their days that would eventually draw. Right.

S10: And Amy loves a party and she’s very vain. So in the end, they were very well matched. And he says that to Joe. You know, he comes back. She’s thinking about re considering his proposal, but he surprises her by saying he and Amy got married abroad and he says, you were totally right. The love I have for Amy is something very different. I you know, almost that speech that you get now, that’s like a love you as a friend. Right. He has that sense of, you know. Yes. I would not have been able to put up with it. I would have wanted so much from you that you couldn’t give me. And here’s Amy. I mean, the way that you know, that they’re perfectly match this is one of my favorite lines in the whole movie is Joe calls him Laurie. Other people call him Mr. Lawrence. And Joe says, you know, oh, you’re married to Amy now. What does she call you? And Laurie rolls his eyes and he says, My Lord.

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S9: I mean, you’re just no, like, of course, it’s like some weird, kinky play they have where she’s like, my little are very new to the. And it’s just like they’re better for each other. In general, he wants someone to worship him.

S4: Right. And she, of course, is also teasing him about the very class difference. Yes. You know, that makes their marriage at March’s eyes a successful marriage. Yes. But yeah, just a couple more words about why he’s such the perfect Laurie. I think that there’s something in there that has to do also with Gerwig interest in creating this this world of women in this movie. You know that Laurie wants to move in, too, right? Yes. I mean, there’s something almost. It’s not that he seems queer, but there’s something queer about his kind of joy in being with the March girls. Right.

S5: He wants to be a sister the first time he walks into that house after this ball when he’s brought Meg and Joe home in his carriage. It’s the activity of that house, the warmth and the closeness. I mean, this is a kid who is an orphan. He grew up mostly in Italy. His mother was an Italian. His parents died. He doesn’t really have a lot of close friends or even people that love him or are loving to him. It’s very cold where he lives. And he walks into this house and it’s like a tumble of women and dresses and petticoats and mommy’s baking and gives him a Schoon at like 2:00 in the morning. And it’s just like the all this actually likes to bake in the middle of the night. And they’re and they’re great made played by Jayne Houdyshell. Just they’re like giving giving away like baked goods. And the whole thing is just so cozy that he wants to be part of it. He wants to be in their club. He makes this mailbox in the woods and gives them all a key where they can all give each other notes like he wants to be the fifth sister. And I think it’s it’s one of those things. You’re right. I think Gerwig is trying to say like. Being in a club house of women is the best possible thing, and like you should be so lucky as to be in the sorority, right.

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S4: And that, in fact, the man who’s the most valuable in that world in that late 19th century world is one who recognizes the value of that of of their being this sisterly club. Of the articles and one of my favorite scenes, I saw some review that said they’ve got this Vizzini scene was too precious or something. I absolutely love it is the scene where he bursts out from behind the rack of clothes and is the new member of their club and they’re all kind of doing these silly British accents and you just really see the playfulness and kind of childlike mischief that the four of them, five of them now are going to engage in. You know, which is sort of the heart of the the love of Laury kind of emerges out of all of that. Right. So in a way, all of them are in love with Laurie. But it’s sort of as they grow up, refines itself down to who will turn it into a romantic love.

S7: Well, and I think he fell in love with the family. I mean, I think in the 1994 version, it’s actually stated I think at one point, Christian Bale, who has come back to town, married to Samantha Mathis, who is the older version of Kirsten Dunst amys, they do like the actress swap in that version. And he says to own a writer, I was going to be part of this family one way or another. There’s a line that says something like that. Like, clearly, no matter what I wanted to be in the March sisters. So I needed to marry a march. You wouldn’t marry me. I married her. It’s not said in this version, which I think is actually good, because I think that makes it seem like Lori and Amy couldn’t possibly be a love match. She was just trying to get close to Joe some way. I think they really do seem like a love match in this version, but I think he fell in love with the family the first time he ever walked in the house.

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S4: That seems fair, although Amy does make the point. Laurence Pugh’s Amy does make the point that it’s essentially a rebound relationship. Right. That’s why she initially turns down his advances in Paris.

S5: Yeah. Well, she also says, I’ve loved you my whole life. Don’t do this to me, cause he’s kind of a player as well. So she’s saying, if you’re finally going to first of all, if you’re gonna ricochet off my sister and come back to me, you better mean it because I have had a crush on you since. I mean, there’s that moment when they first walk into the house, everything’s chaos. And she just stares up at him and says, hi, I’m Amy. And the way she says it, it’s so clear she’s love struck a chord.

S4: Florence Fugee absolutely kills. She does. This movie does leave a little bit of room for you to pine for Lori and Joe. And I kind of admire that the messiness is left in there when Sasha writes the letter, right. When Joe writes the letter to him and locks it up in the mailbox for him to find within manages to retrieve it and destroy it. But Ryan ever sees it, right.

S10: I mean, let’s talk about that refusal, which I think leads to my favorite speech of the whole movie, which is the I’m so lonely speech, which I think a lot of people are referencing and talking about. Now, she turns Lori down. They have this big sort of blowout fight on the most beautiful day you’ve ever seen. New England fall day. The trees are ocher and a flame. They’re fighting. She says, you would hate my writing. I would hate your partying. We would never be good together. We would get bored of each other. I can’t marry you. I wouldn’t mean it. I wouldn’t mean it. If you asked me if I loved you, I wouldn’t be able to say yes, honestly. So I’m going to say no now. And it’s just devastating to him.

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S8: Timothy’s speech was fantastic. When he says, I’m going to watch. Right. I mean, he’s really at that moment goes, you will marry. You will marry William. I’m never gonna get married. He says he will. And I’ll watch.

S4: And then he walks off. It’s so tragic. And then there’s this moment that’s just completely not period blocking. And I was so excited by it both times I saw the movie. And this is part of, I think, what gives this movie a freshness and a modernity, even though it’s not trying to be anachronistic. Right. I mean, people aren’t speaking in 21st century slang or anything like that. But after Laurie storms off and she’s alone on that beautiful hill looking out on the trees. Joe, so she Ronan’s character just drops to the ground. She just like plonks to the round and kind of sits down like sprawls on the hill, cradles her knees and her elbows. And it’s just not a way that people sit in period movie. No, I mean, very modern fashion merchant ivory movie. She would stare out. She would stand there statuesque in her dress and stare out to the. No. Yes. It’s so modern. It’s so like petulant or sad. It’s the same way that she and Laura Dern sit on the floor in that scene we were talking about. You know, I’ve been angry my whole life right there next to Amy’s bed, after she’s fallen through the ice, she’s fallen asleep. And they’re sitting in this very modern way just with their backs up against the bed and their knees up. And there were a few moments like that were just I felt that Greg was just looking at period films in a different way and just. Leo, let’s make these people recognizable bodies moving through space.

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S5: There was a lot of modern sitting. She’s plopped on the ground. And then that leads to what I was going to say is my favorite scene in the whole movie where she goes off to New York. She has this period in New York where she’s selling stories and she meets a professor that lives in the house played by the great Louie girl, who’s obviously Friedrich. And in the book, you know, you know how it all turns out. But she has to come back from New York to Massachusetts because Beth is very ill and she’s living back at home and.

S7: Beth has passed and she is sitting in the attic in marmy, comes up and says, don’t you want to go back to New York? Aren’t you looking for the next thing to do? And she says, I’m happy at home. And then she starts to kind of unravel and says, actually, I’m just I should maybe I should marry Laurie. I don’t know. But what I do know is, like, I’m so sick of the idea that women are just for marriage. We have minds, we have feelings, we have desires. I mean, that you’ve probably heard it in the trailer that women are more than just I’m so sick of it. But the line that’s not in the trailer that just devastates me is she says, I’m so sick of it after this long sort of screed about what women are not allowed to be.

S10: And then she says, But I’m so lonely. The way that sÁsha gives that speech is I’m like going to choke up thinking about it. It’s just like I thought that was such a beautiful love letter from Gerwig to Louisa May Alcott, who never married, who was probably really lonely as a person.

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S6: Right. And never married. And I think there was an acknowledgement of what that life would have been like for her. You know. Right. Yeah. I didn’t. I did not know that Louisa May Alcott never married Mets.

S4: If so, that is a beautiful tribute to put in there to her. I think now we’re getting close to the ending. I think that the ending to this movie is the most radical thing about it. Yeah. And is open ended in a way that I had to see the movie twice to really completely understand. And this all relates to Frederick, to the to the French guy is a German guy in the book that that she winds up with or we think she winds up with and the fate of her book and those two things, her romantic fate and her fate as a writer are tied in together. And as you say in that last scene, kind of pitted against each other in a way. Right. I mean, it’s the lonely her that wants to be alone in the attic writing her book. But there’s also this part of her that, of course, wants love in a home and family. And the way that the movie splits, the difference between those two things and leaves you in suspension is quite incredible.

S10: There are not many montages in this film that feel very full of action or intrigue cept this montage at the end of the movie about writing. It is the most exciting writing montage in which basically. Beth has died. Joe is burning all her old writing because she’s feeling very disconnected from both her family and her art and very lonely and she comes across the story that she had written for Beth in a notebook, says for Beth at the top. She takes it up to the attic. She props that open sort of on her desk and lights a candle. And suddenly she’s off to the races, whatever. She just keeps that notebook open to the page that says for Beth. And, you know, she’s doing something for Beth.

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S4: Well, you see her copying out the first line of the story. And the first line is Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without any presence, which is the first line of little women. And that’s the first moment that I started to realize, oh, this is gonna be a metafiction, you know, in a way that the book isn’t. I mean, the book is about a girl struggling to become a writer, just like Louisa May Alcott did. But she doesn’t write the book that we’re reading. Right.

S6: It’s not the right. No, I know. Yeah. It’s very, very, very. I didn’t think of it as very Nabokov. So then she starts writing. And what I love about this montage is, first of all, the sheer act of what it might have been like to write in the 1860s.

S11: Everything has to be pen and ink. Her hand gets. So it’s like saw she shaking it out, like and swatted his hand. You wrote everything by hand like it back then. And also with a nib. So it’s just like painstaking. She’s crossing things out and then she’s laying the pages out on the floor one by one, having to illuminate them by these beeswax candles. It’s just it would’ve been crazy to write a book back then.

S4: Yeah, it makes you think. Which is something that I often think when I read a great old book. Right? I mean, yeah. Reading like Shakespeare can’t drag somebody who wrote back in the candle days. Just think how many of the great works of literature in human history have been written by candle light, you know, just so painstakingly scratched out by a person who can barely see.

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S7: And she’s not eating like marmy is bringing her up trays. She’s not even going downstairs. She’s in a fugue state writing this book. And you don’t know if it takes days or weeks or months or years.

S8: But she’s up there. She’s in the attic. I love that montage. And just her falling asleep at the end in this complete fire hazard of an attic that’s full of papers and candles burning. And she takes it to her publisher that she’d met in the beginning in New York, played by the great Tracy LETTS, who says this is a woman story. I don’t see much interest in it. Flash forward to his daughters finding the manuscript and going. I want to know what’s going to happen to the little women.

S4: Amazing thing about that. Apparently, that actually happened with little women. The manuscript, which was only partially done, was at the publisher’s house and his daughters found it and read it and were among the people who encouraged him to keep her writing.

S5: And I think that leads to what you had mentioned, being one of your favorite lines in the film, where the book is getting published and the sisters are talking about the kinds of stories that Joe is writing now. And she’s saying I’m just writing a domestic stories about us and our sister adeno, who will be interested in them. I guess she hasn’t heard back yet from the publisher at that point. And there’s that line about connoting importance or.

S4: Oh, yeah, yeah. Well well, it’s just that she’s she’s sort of putting down her domestic writing saying who’s going to care about our little domestic? I think she says joys and struggles or something like that. And Amy and Meghan saying, well, we care. And I believe Joe’s line after that as well. Writing doesn’t confer importance. It reflects it. Right. Which Amy and good Amy style never to agree with. Her sister says no, I don’t think so. I think we write things down in that that makes them important, which is, of course, if there’s a thesis sentence to this adaptation, it’s that yeah, it’s that women’s lives in the domestic sphere.

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S11: And all these things that women and girls were going through at that time are just as important and worth. Detailing and this moment happens where the book is published and this is the very last moment, the film so true spoiler. Is that the book Little Women in this Movie was written by Joe. And you see the entire production of it. Again, a very thrilling montage where you see how a book was put together in a printing press in the in the right with a binder machine as he’s always sewing. You see a letter plates, you see the the leather cover getting stretched. You see everything, the gold press, the the embossing on the cover. And when they sort of blow away the wax, you’ve seen the cover of little women in what in the title card in the beginning of the film that says Little Women. And it has losing Alcott’s name on the front. And then then at the end of the film, you see they blow away the wax Senate says. JM March. Right. Which is just so beautiful. Yeah.

S4: I mean, it’s just such it’s really a radical transformation to make it that she was writing that book, especially because and here we have to jump back to Tracy LETTS office for for a minute, especially because I think that that shift also throws into question whether she actually gets together with Friedrich or not. Yes, right. Because one of the things she’s saying to Tracy LETTS is, you know, if if it’ll sell. Fine. If it will sell, I’ll put a marriage into the end of this. I’ll marry off my my main character. Right. But and now I wish we had it in front of me to look at the exact script. But there’s something that she says that seems to imply I’ll do it on paper, but that doesn’t mean that I’ll do it in real life.

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S11: Right. And he says we can call this chapter under the umbrella. And she goes, great, fine. And then it flashes to her racing in the rain under an umbrella to meet Friedrich at the train station before he leaves. And they make out. And that’s this like wonderful love scene. And it calls into question whether or not that happened or if that did happen, whether or not they marry, you know, and you then flash forward to this idea like future where they’re all running the school together and everyone is together in Amy’s painting again. And Meg is teaching acting to little children and Joe is teaching them how to write. And Laurie is holding a newborn baby. And it’s just so beautiful and perfect. All the storylines have wrapped up. And you wonder, is this real? Is it a fantasy? It leaves you in the question.

S4: Right. Because, I mean, if the reality of the movie could be split open in such a way that the book that we saw or not with our own eyes was by Louisa May Alcott is now by J.L. March, then what else in the story might.

S5: Might we be expected to doubt? Yeah. And I think that one of the main differences, as we talked about between Joe and Louisa May Alcott was that Louisa May Alcott did not get married and was alone for her life. And so, if anything, I think this is an acknowledgment of the fact that her life was different from the fiction and that as much as you want to put one over the other, it may not be as neat or as clean as you would like. Right.

S4: I think now I have to draw my $20 word because we’re already talking about Liza. I love this word. I’ve been looking for an opportunity to use this word ever since I learned it. And there’s so few works of art that fit this exact model. But Pale Fire by Nabokov that we mentioned earlier. Yeah, one of them it’s poor you mention, which is a Greek rhetorical term that just means of work. That is about its own creation. Right. It’s a work of art that tells the story of its own creation so that by the time you reach the end of the book or the movie, whatever character is going to create a book or movie is just on the point of being about to begin it. And I wouldn’t say that the book, A Little Woman is a Poor. You mean on in the same way. I mean, it’s a meta fictional book, right. But that’s different from the actual category of like a book that sort of is a snake eating its own tail.

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S8: Right. Right. And the movie ready to begin. Yeah. This movie is about the writing of little women in the context of the story of little women, which is just the way that’s revealed at the end is just so thrilling. I think you and I both felt that like watching the book get produced was thrilling enough, but it’s almost like just a twist. You know, an incredibly exciting twist when that gold wax gets blown away and there’s a different name on the cover. I mean, it’s like almost a puzzle box of a movie. You’re like, oh, and I was out. Watch out.

S9: Like, Greg is coming for your wig. The best mystery of the year is little women.

S4: All right. Well, OK. Now, I think we’ve put a bow on the end. We’ve talked about all the performances I wanted to talk about. Let’s talk a little about the look of the movie. I mean, and speaking of.

S11: Yeah, well, yes, I did. I talked to the costume designer. And one of the things that was important was that it be period but modern. And I asked her what that meant. And she basically said that she gave the actors period clothes and then told them to style them themselves in the morning, which I thought was a great assignment, not with every single outfit, because there’s some that had to be like the debutante ball and everything that had be very, very strictly put together. But for example, with Timothy’s outfits, she would give him sort of a floppy shirt and a waistcoat and then some, you know, high waisted pants and just say, you know, style these how you want. And the way he ended up wearing those clothes looks incredibly volatile.

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S8: Do you mean like they could actually add accessories or just like the way he would tie his tie or the way he’d tuck something in or not tuck it in or.

S7: You know, is it buttoned or unbuttoned? It’s just like, how do you want to wear it? And. Obviously, Charlamagne is such a fashion plate himself and plays to the idea of gender on the red carpet and sort of his is it a loose stressor on his own, understands clothes really well for someone his age. He was playing with the wardrobe. Mean Laurie’s calls are so beautiful, but also has he’s like puffed out sleeves that puff out from under his shirt jacket. Sometimes things aren’t tucked in. There’s a messiness in an undone ness. His hair’s always askew. I think that that made it feel very modern and like, oh, this is just like a boy you would have a crush on in high school.

S6: Yeah. It’s the sartorial equivalent of his lounging across furniture the wrong way. Right. But also, I mean, there is a few elements that felt, for example, Joe’s always supposed to be a tomboy. Right. But how much of a tomboy can you be at that time? Women were still wearing skirts. I mean, sometimes she’ll wear like a jod per to go writing and things like that. But she mostly is just wearing skirts. But they made her look tomboyish because they would give her these kind of oversized. And I think very modern looking corduroy blazers or best ball. Yes. A lot of. She’s got a lot of extra boxy sort of clothes, mannish vests that are kind of like menswear, but they kind of feel modern. And the piece of clothing that I like the most in the entire film belongs to Joe, which is a emerald green military jacket that she uses only for writing. I love it. She has a writing. She has a writing outfit. And it’s actually it was really airy box. I think I’ve broken the fairy box, but she’s appropriated it for her. Writing apparently was very important to Gretta. According to the costume designer that Joe have a writing outfit, which I think as a writer spoke to me because I was like, sometimes when I need to write, I have to psych myself up. So maybe I’m like, oh, you’re like a cool robe or something like I need something that makes me feel like I’m in another headspace. And so she has this jacket. And I said what it have been from the war where she have, you know, borrowed it from her father or some sort of boy in town who is a fighter. And she said, no, we made it very clear that it was not a civil wars jacket. It wasn’t something that was actually military. It was a play. Yeah. Yeah. It there’s a cowboy soldier. She’s a toy soldier. And the same thing with actually the the box. I said, you know, their costumes were so beautiful for the theatricals.

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S5: And she said, well, that would have been the pride of their life is making that fairy box good because there was nothing else to do for entertainment in Concord, Massachusetts in 1860. So what are you gonna do other than sort of go around town finding Tinsel and Muslins and Velvets and making your costume boxes good as it can be?

S6: I mean, also, apparently, you know, Beth devoted her life to selling and making these things gorgeous. I mean, everything in their costume box was very fine. Yeah. Yeah. I agree. The writing jacket was one of the best, best costume details.

S11: I don’t know if you remember the stain, but there was time in the 90s where there were a lot of period pieces coming out at the same time and there was little women, there was a little princess. There is a new version of the Secret Garden, also avidly or Anne of Green Gables kind of fits into this to this sartorial idea that I had in the 90s of what I should look like as a young child. I wanted bloomers and I wanted petticoats and I wanted big bows in my hair. And it all came from watching these movies. And I don’t think I would feel that watching this movie. I think it feels a lot more modern. I think you wouldn’t look like you were in avidly or something. Right. You know, but that there is it doesn’t have that patina of what 90s period pieces that women dress like, which was the very cartoonishly period. Right. And this feels so much more updated.

S4: I feel like in the 90s, too, there wasn’t the general sense that people in period movie should not look like they just walked out of a costume shop. You know, it seems like most period costumers now agree on that, whether or not they let people style their own costumes. There’s a little bit more of a sense that things should have wear and tear or they should look like a person who’s worn them over the course of a day.

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S6: I wonder if any trend will start from this. You’ll notice watching this movie that a lot of the women wear scarves criss crossed over there to collect gray area. And it has a name. And it’s a very specific item that women in the civil war era wore, which it’s kind of an oval loop of fabric. And it was designed so that they could crisscross in front of them and have like it looks almost like a baby carrier, baby like a. Yeah, like a boob shawl. And that was very accurate and very period. And they knit them for them, but they did them from patterns based on that time and very, very loyal to what women would have worn actually in that era. And I wonder if that will make a comeback. All right. Well, Rachel, I think we’ve kind of done it right. Do you have anything else you want to say about Greta Gerwig? Little women, except to send people to see it? Yeah. I just want to say.

S7: Yes, go see this movie, see it with your mom, if you can, or with a woman in your life. I think this is the kind of movie that you want to hold someone’s hands. You cry.

S4: Yeah. I have such fond memories of seeing the 1994 version on Christmas Day when it also opened with my grandmother, just the two of us. And I wish she was still around to see this one. She we love it. And Rachel, please, the next time we both love a movie, come back in and spoil it with me again would be my pleasure.

S12: And that’s our show today. You can subscribe to the Slate Spoiler special podcast Feed. And if you’d like our show, you can read it and review it in the Apple podcast store or wherever you get your podcasts. And please, if you have suggestions for movies or TV shows that you spoil in the future or other feedback, share evens and spoilers at Slate. Our audio engineer today was Merrett Jacob. Our producer is Rosemary Bellson, Rachel Syme. I’m Dana Stevens. Thanks for listening. And we’ll talk to you again soon.