Adaptations of books to the big screen are regularly met with disappointment among fans when certain favorite moments from the source material wind up being left out the locked picture. And particularly when it comes to a classic book like Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, there will inevitably be gripes from die-hards. Writer/director Greta Gerwig has already beat them to the punch, however, as there are a number of moments she wishes she could fit into her take on the beloved novel. But, it’s 759 pages, and the film is only two hours and 15 minutes long.
Straight away, Greta Gerwig went right to quoting some key lines she couldn’t quite squeeze into the film in the end. She started with a couple quotes from Amy March, played by Midsommar’s Florence Pugh in the film. She calls the youngest sister of the bunch in the books an unsung character in Little Women, referencing two great lines from the 1868 classic: “The world is hard on ambitious girls,” and “I don’t pretend to be wise, but I am observant.”
She’s right – these are great lines. As Greta Gerwig notes, she felt these words to still be statements to which women of today could relate, but cuts had to be made. The filmmaker had the tough task of adapting a book with quite a number characters to develop in a little over two hours. The movie follows the four March sisters with Saoirse Ronan as Jo, Emma Watson as Meg, Eliza Scanlen as Beth, and Florence Pugh’s Amy. The story also follows Jo’s love interest, Timothee Chalamet as Laurie, Laura Dern as the sisters’ mother, and Meryl Streep as Aunt March.
In the interview, Greta Gerwig also referenced a few conversations between Laurie and Amy that she found to be profound concerning themes of being artists, growing up, and beyond. Gerwig also mentioned a specific scene in the film that would have had Saoirse Ronan’s Jo attempting to impress with her cooking skills, only to mix salt with sugar.
Each of these lost moments in Little Women sound like they could have been welcome additions to the movie, yet making tough decisions like this is part of being a filmmaker. As it is, the book adaptation is getting high, high praise. The movie has a 97% Fresh score on Rotten Tomatoes and has been nominated for two Golden Globes. However, as Saoirse Ronan recently spoke out about, Little Women was snubbed in categories recognizing Greta Gerwig’s contributions, among others.