The first ‘Little Women’ trailer is here: do you love it or do you hate it?

Actor Hugh Grant at Mark Kermode Live in 3D

I stan Greta Gerwig and I can write (and have written) lengthy diatribes about why Lady Bird is a brilliant movie, a tiny gem of a film about being a girl at a certain moment in time, and about complicated mother-daughter relationships and all of those female rites of passage that usually go unnoticed by mainstream films. Like, Lady Bird means that much to me. It’s brilliant. I was intrigued when Gerwig chose to adapt Little Women for the screen as her follow-up to Lady Bird. I was more intrigued by the choice of Saoirse Ronan as Jo March and Timothee Chalamet as Rich Boy Laurie. The first photos had me believing in the project, especially since it really looked like Gerwig got the Jo-Laurie relationship right. But now I’m having second thoughts about all of this, honestly. Behold, the first trailer:

I’ve watched this about four times, trying to figure out which parts bug me. I think one of the main problems I might have is that it feels too much like “From the Oscar-nominated Lady Bird, here’s Greta Gerwig’s Little Women,” when it should be “here’s Gerwig’s faithful adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women.” Gerwig might have inserted herself too much, but again, I’m just basing that theory on the trailer. It feels like Gerwig has modernized the language, plot and themes just a tad too much and made an adaptation for tweens and teens who have never read the book.

Other things I’d like to note… it feels like Gerwig is trying to make us like Amy March, played by Florence Pugh? And I’m like… Amy sucks, period, the end. Amy is not the heroine. Jo March was a modern literary heroine for her time, but there’s no need to go SO modern for her story. And Emma Watson’s Meg seems to be… um… well, better to say as little as possible. My nemesis Laura Dern plays Marmie and… it’s fine. It will be okay. Meryl Streep as Aunt March is basically the American version of Downton Abbey’s Dowager Countess now. And did you know James Norton plays Mr. Brook, Meg’s eventual husband? Hm. But Timothee is really selling Laurie.

Actor Hugh Grant at Mark Kermode Live in 3D

Actor Hugh Grant at Mark Kermode Live in 3D

Stills courtesy of ‘Little Women’.

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83 Responses to “The first ‘Little Women’ trailer is here: do you love it or do you hate it?”

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  1. Neners says:

    *sees Amy*

    INSTANT RAGE.

    In all seriousness, this looks pretty good!

    • manda says:

      I think it looks great! It looks like it has some stuff in it that I haven’t seen in previous adaptations. I really like Saoirse Ronan and thought she looked great from the few scenes I have seen

  2. Aurora says:

    Weren’t girls in the book American? Why’s everyone British?

    Soarse’s American accent has bugged me since The Lovely Bones. I’m also not looking forward to Emma Watson’s struggle accent.

    • smcollins says:

      Lol good point (the actress from Sharp Objects is Australian, though). I think it looks pretty good and I’ll definitely be seeing it, not in the theater but when it becomes available through streaming or on hbo or something. I’m a big fan of the 1994 adaptation so I’ll have to try to not allow that to cloud my judgement.

    • Amy says:

      So I’m not American and thus am probably not the best judge of this…but Emma’s accent in the trailer isn’t even close to actually being American, right? Saoirse’s goes in and out a bit too, I agree, but I found Emma’s distractingly bad. Would be interested in the opinion of people actually from the US though!

      • Susan says:

        The accents are not…good. Even Saoirse. Her Irish accent doesn’t come through it’s just the typical overdoneness of the American accent that happens a lot. The effort behind it stands out.

    • dos santos says:

      Important point: Saoirse’s Irish, not British.

    • Irisha says:

      Saoirse is Irish, which very much means she is not British

      • SuperNova says:

        Technically that’s incorrect. Britain is made up of England, Ireland (Northern) Scotland and Wales. I don’t know which part she is from. But Ireland is very much part of Britain, at least for now.

      • Tina says:

        There’s geography and politics. Ireland is not Britain geographically in any way (two separate islands). People from Northern Ireland might describe themselves as British, depending on their politics. But Saoirse is from the Republic of Ireland, which is 100% not Britain or British.

      • Seán says:

        @Supernova, educate yourself. The island of Ireland (separate from the island of Great Britain), the independent country of Ireland and Northern Ireland (part of the UK but with its own complex identity and citizenship laws) are three separate things.

        Most of Ireland (the part where Ronan was raised) is not in anyway British.

    • Lena says:

      Greta could have tried a little harder to find American actresses for the sisters. Can you imagine the uproar if all the actresses for a very British or Australian story were American.

  3. Becks1 says:

    Amy is the WORST. the worst! She’s the primary reason I have never liked that book. I know that Jo and Laurie wouldn’t work, but I hate that he ends up with Amy. I HATE AMY!!!!!

    LOL. I have feelings about this. I’m not going to see movie anyway, but if they try to make Amy anything other than THE WORST, I’m really not going to see it.

    • Lightpurple says:

      So, Becks1, tell us how you really feel about Amy. I think you may be holding back a bit.

      I think the genius of Alcott was that she created four different characters whom readers could identify as their personal protagonist or antagonist. For you, the latter is clearly Amy. Just as it was for young Jo.

      • Becks1 says:

        LOL I don’t think of her as my personal antagonist. I just think of her as…..vapid and spoiled and bratty. So maybe she is my personal antagonist after all?

        I have a lot more to say about Amy so I AM holding back!!!! LOL.

    • Angie says:

      Omg I so agree! Amy is the worst! I have never forgiven her for burning Jos book and getting away with it- just because she almost drowned Jo had to grovel. She’s an idiot and she stole Laurie and she wasn’t there when Beth died. And she was not a good artist. She only “painted” to look aristocratic so she could marry well. So she stole Jos trip and Laurie. Yes, I feel very strongly about it.

      • Parvati says:

        Amy is an annoying character, but she is always portrayed as practical,willing to play society’s rules. She snapped up Laurie, because her goal was to marry money. But Jo had already rejected Laurie twice. I do find Laurie and Amy’s romance unbelievable and ill conceived though. But then I find Jo’s choice of Mr. Bhaer odd as well, since he disapproved of her stories, and persuaded her to give up her writing. The real issue is that Little Women’s sequels were contract driven, and Alcott fulfilled the publisher’s demands by finding husbands for all, and changing Jo from a rebel to a conformist, giving up her writing to fulfill her husbsnd’s dreams of establishing a school, and being a mother to all her boys (Little Men and Jo’s Boys are awful and boring).

    • Miss b says:

      I actually love the book but Amy is absolutely hateful and infuriating and I refuse to watch this if it tries to pretend she doesn’t suck.

  4. MachineElf says:

    Emma Watson has like four facial expressions max, right?

    • BengalCat😻 says:

      You’re being generous, I was going to say one. I don’t know how this bland woman gets work.

  5. Arizona says:

    yeah, this isn’t really working for me. plus, did we really need another adaptation? it feels a bit too modern for what the story is. also, I secretly always liked Amy the best although I hate that she ends up with Laurie. Jo seems kind of smug to me, but that might have to do with how old I was when I saw the 1994 adaptation. and I haven’t seen it since.

  6. iriserose says:

    I’m… stunned at how bad this looks. Gerwig is incredible, I don’t know what happened here. It really does feel like a slick, dull, big studio version meant to update it for people who can’t read.

    • AG-UK says:

      So true. Emma Watson isn’t that great but incredibly lucky. I’ll pass.

    • Megan says:

      I think this looks bad, too. Putting modern feminist sensibilities into a costume drama doesn’t work for me.

      • Yup, Me says:

        It works really well in Harlots- if you haven’t seen that one.

        This version doesn’t feel necessary. At all. Even a little.

        This feels like the movie version of a burp, a cough, a sigh and a chuckle. They’re just meh. It happened. Let’s move on.

    • Parvati says:

      Yep. Emma is awful as Meg and I don’t see Saiorse as Jo either. And big no to Laura Dern as marmee. As for the plot, it is not Alcott’s Little Women.

  7. Marjorie says:

    It seems to me that they’ve really butched up Jo, which I think Louisa May Alcott (who went by Lou) would have loved had she been around now, but she isn’t. Also the clothes in general look too pretty – the family was poor.

    I really liked the BBC version from a year or two ago. It was low budget and featured Maya Hawke as Jo. She was ok and seemed promising. But I think Emily Watson might have been the best Marmee ever – all warmth and realism. Laura Dern – love her but I don’t think so.

    • Mumbles says:

      I liked that British version too and just don’t see the need for this so quickly after that one. And does Meryl need to be in *everything*? So many top notch actors in her age group and older who could do it – Glenn Close, Blythe Danner, Kathy Bates, and those are just who came to mind in the last few seconds.

      • oliphant says:

        agree mumbles- streep is just a big boring ham at this point, I want more kathy bates she is sublime.

  8. Holly says:

    I don’t understand some of these reactions …. I’m 24, this will be the first film adaption I see of Little Women. My friends and I are PUMPED.

    We all shared the trailer, tearing up, and planning to splurge on iPic tix so we can eat and drink during it and have the time of our lives.

    • manda says:

      ooh, you really should check out the 90′s one with winona ryder. I feel like there is controversy on this site about whether that one is good; I think it’s good. I watch it a lot.

      • Lightpurple says:

        I love that one. Although I wish they hadn’t switched out actresses for Amy.

      • manda says:

        @Lightpurple–yes, that was distracting. I guess they really wanted to emphasize how young she was supposed to be

  9. Margareth says:

    This looks so basic. Not a good trailer

  10. manda says:

    I loved it!

    I was poised to be very anti- this project but Saoirse Ronan makes it, for me at least. The parts they showed of her in the trailer literally brought tears to my eyes. Jo wants so much more from life than what she’s offered. I thought it looked really good. At least Saoirse and Timothee looked really good.

    Emma Watson as Meg…. hmmm, she seems short and young to me, doesn’t seem to fit the part.

    I don’t hate Amy. I see Amy’s perspective, I can empathize with her. She’s a lot like Scarlett O’Hara or Celeste from Big Little Lies in that way, she knows what she wants and she isn’t going to be poor if she has anything to do about it. I admire people who can put that kind of pragmatism before love

  11. Gingerbread says:

    Am I the only one that thinks this looks good? I love Little Women, I don’t care that it’s another remake. How is Amy the most hated when there’s BETH?? Maybe I’m biased because I absolutely can’t stand Claire Danes, but good god does Beth annoy me. I like Emma Watson though, she’s not the greatest actor but neither is Emma Stone and she has an Oscar. I can finally see why people were so attracted to Timothy, as well. Whatever, I’m excited!

  12. Lightpurple says:

    I will confess that I always loved Amy but this trailer seems to push her forward too much and there is hardly any Beth at all. Beth was the stabilizer among the four girls and her story is the most dramatic in the book.

    Why can’t they film some other Alcott books? They even have ready made sequels. I need to see Eight Cousins and Rose in Bloom on the screen – and they have lots of parts for middle aged and older women actresses. All those aunts! Which is probably why it will never happen.

  13. Marianne says:

    I’ve watched the trailer like 5 times now just for the “We would be a disaster.” “I would be a perfect saint” scene.

    Take my money!

  14. Earthbound says:

    I wish they’d dyed Ronans hair brown and maybe gave her brown contacts too. Jo is a dark haired heroine and especially as I read the book as a kid that part about her is really imprinted in my head and feels somehow important to the aesthetic.

    But overall this looks good to me. Way better than the 90s one with Ryder. Ronan seems like a natural Jo.

    • Chaine says:

      I agree with you about the hair , it’s been decades since I read the book but it seemed to me that it always emphasize that Jo had chestnut hair that was somehow part of her identity. I think of her hair as a dark reddish brown and very thick and long. What trailer did not do that for me!

      Overall, it left me cold, I probably won’t see it.

  15. Totally Old says:

    Everyone should watch the 1949 version with June Allyson, Liz Taylor and Margaret O’Brien. That was the most like the book for me. Margaret’s Beth is beautiful. I’ve never cried so hard in all my life in a movie. I guess every generation deserves their own version.

  16. Jerusha says:

    I’ve loved everything Gerwig has done, whether acting or directing and I adore Timothee and Saoirse, so I will be there opening week. The trailer looks great to me. It’s been at least 60 years since I saw the Katharine Hepburn and June Allyson versions of LW, never saw Winona’s, so I have no basis for comparison. Looking forward to it.

  17. Savannah says:

    Can someone explain why Saoirse Ronan is getting so much praise? I don’t see it, she’s so bland.

  18. Flying Fish says:

    Ronan has no depth, no passion, in my opinion. As a child actress she was good but as an adult her acting seem lifeless to me.
    The same for Watson.
    I am not impressed.

  19. Maria_ says:

    Saoirse Ronan como Jo March
    Emma Watson como Meg March
    Florence Pugh como Amy March
    Eliza Scanlen como Beth March
    Laura Dern como Marmee March
    Meryl Streep como Tía March
    Timothée Chalamet como Theodore “Laurie” Laurence
    James Norton como John Brooke
    Louis Garrel como Friedrich Bhaer
    Bob Odenkirk como Sr. March

    Louis Garrel, veeery hansome man, is not old enough , to me, to play Mr bhaer.

  20. Fleur says:

    I adored the 90s winona version, it was a huge moment in my teenage life and I will love it forever. There’s a pure affection you can have for things as a child (movies, books), an affection that I don’t think can be recreated when you see new art as adults no matter how beautiful the work. I will let this piece live its own creative life, and while it could never mean as much to me as the 90s one did, I hope some young girl will see beauty, life and hope for her own life reflected in it the way I did as a girl. Hopefully it will be something special and wonderful to a new generation.

  21. MellyMel says:

    I loved the 90s version with Winona, but I’m excited to see this! Timothee & Saoirse have really good chemistry on-screen, so I’m looking forward to that. And I spotted James Norton…so take my money.

  22. SilentStar says:

    The terrible music makes it look kind of corny. Especially during snippets of emotional dialog. I’m thinking the trailer is a lot worse than the movie? I hope?

    As much as I like the story and Greta Gerwig and the actors, I just don’t know why I’d want to see another iteration of this though.

    My initial response to this is “Good try, but WHY?”

  23. Deanna says:

    Is this book a required reading in schools in the US, or something? I’m not American and I’ve never heard of it.

    Something about Timothee bugs me, so I’ll pass.

    • Becks1 says:

      I never read it for school. I just think its part of the culture? It’s a fairly iconic work of American literature. I think between my sister and me we had 5 different versions of it.

    • Lightpurple says:

      It’s in practically every school library but I don’t think it is required reading. I read it on my own when I was about 9 because my cousin gave it to me in a box of books when she went off to college. In turn, I have gifted it to all my nieces, along with a trip to Alcott’s home. I live nearby. It’s a beloved classic.

    • Millenial says:

      There are very few books in the American canon that are for written for women (it’s worse for minorities). Little Women is sort of a big one for us.

    • M.A.F. says:

      No it’s not. However, in high school your Junior English class is American Lit & this book is always on a list of recommended books.

  24. Tiffany :) says:

    Keep in mind…trailers aren’t made by the creative team that made the film. They are a marketing tool that is edited by someone who doesn’t see the film as their baby. They chose a lot of modern language/theme moments in this, but it might not reflect the actual balance/tone of the movie.

  25. Rhys says:

    Surprised at the negative comments – it looks great and it looks modern, which EVERY adaptation did and should look like.
    I’m definitely going to see this!

  26. Yami says:

    I don’t care what anyone says the June Allison/Elizabeth Taylor version was the best. Come at me!

  27. Lila says:

    The dialogue is a hot mess. They aren’t even attempting to match the sound of the book.

    • Yami says:

      Yeah, I know, it’s a great work of literature for a reason. You don’t have to rewrite it. It kinda pains me then they do that.

  28. JoJo says:

    There was yet another Little Women adaptation as a TV mini-series on PBS/BBC last year (or the year before), starring Maya Hawke (who is now in Stranger Things, and is awesome!) as Jo March. I haven’t watched it yet, but it got good reviews.

  29. Anne says:

    I’ve been a huge fan of Greta’s work so far and the trailer looks great! Can’t wait to see it

  30. Lisa says:

    The trailer was disappointing. I was hoping for better but I still have the 1994 version which I loved.

  31. JV says:

    I have STILL never forgiven Amy for destroying Jo’s manuscript! Even thinking about it makes me rageful! LOL

  32. Xtrology says:

    There is only one “Little Women.” It’s the one with June Allyson. I’m obsessed with “Little Women.” Apparently the rest of the world is too, because they keep making this movie. Stop. The best one has been made. The definitive one.

  33. Karen says:

    Diatribe? Are you sure?

  34. Case says:

    Ronan and Watson have SUCH unconvincing American accents, wow. Even in just watching the trailer, I wasn’t sure if they kept their accents or not because it was such an odd, hybrid-sounding accent.

  35. Alyse says:

    I think it’s good if it’s got it’s own angle/view… whats the point of making the same thing over and over if there’s no contemporary lens or personal voice?

    Also excited about everyone in this apart from Emma. I like her as a person but not as an actress. Timothee seems a perfect Laurie! Though Christian Bale’s version is some huge shoes to fill

  36. M.A.F. says:

    Nope. I will take the spit trail between Winona Ryder & Christian Bale any time (if you saw it the theater when it came out, you know of what I speak. I never heard a whole audience go “ewww” at the same time. It was great) over this.

  37. Rose says:

    Amy can take a long walk off a short pier. Team Jo.

  38. Andree says:

    LOL, it really does look too modern, like a Woodyallen-esque movie with nevous dialogues, or maybe a poorly acted school play?

  39. Valerie says:

    It doesn’t look AS BAD as I thought… Which is not to say that it’s great. Gabriel Byrne and Winona Ryder all the way.