kevintporter’s review published on Letterboxd:
I'm having the exact same arc with LW as I did with Lady Bird, which is really liking and enjoying it the first time and then, upon rewatch, knowing the relationships and plot well enough to absorb every note and color and movement of what Gerwig's actually doing. And, well...
What a monument to the beauty of quiet lives. There is no conflict other than the inherent struggle of good people trying to love each other as best they can...and maybe the conflict of not processing the movie as a Mr. Show sketch when father finally comes home. Put this in the Hall of Fame of sweet warm blanket movies.
There is a pervasive, open-hearted tenderness to every part of the movie that is overwhelming to me. It's in the humble joy of the girls giving up their Christmas breakfast, it's in Mr. Laurence's crinkled-smile pride of Beth, it's in Laurie entering the March home for the first time and falling smitten with every part of it. And it's all in Marmee.
The recent years of Laura Dern's career has been marked by her hitting it out of the park playing the most EXTRA white ladies, so seeing her shift back into gear of soft sincerity cracked me open...
In my favorite scene of the movie (tied with 29 others), Marmee confides in Jo "I'm not patient by nature", acknowledging the work that simple virtue requires. This theme always HITS me, like when Joanne Rogers tells writer Lloyd Vogel that Mr. Rogers isn't a saint, he works hard at it every day. Or when Paddington Bear counts the cost his unflagging kindness has, briefly losing faith in it. Stories like this remind us that great character is attainable, and the fight to hold onto our integrity is worth it.
Are we gonna be the people we want to be? Will we be as decent and wonderful as we imagine our best selves? Will we survive and be okay and can we live with the decisions we made? I adored the answers to those questions for each character and how none of them felt sappy or easy.
Little Women is a lavish garden, one grown in our memories, that Gerwig stewarded so magnificently and shaped into something even more vibrant and alive than you could ever expect in 2019, invading our hearts and provoking natures too noble to curb and too lofty to bend.