“This is Meg, Amy, Beth, and Jo.”
The March foursome is introduced to a new generation right off the bat in the trailer for Little Women (watch it below), the latest adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s book of the same name.
Directed by Greta Gerwig, the trailer brings to life the latest iteration of the beloved classic. It follows the four March sisters as they come of age during the aftermath of the Civil War and forge their own paths into the world. There’s the eldest, beautiful Meg (Emma Watson), who embodies everything expected of a traditional, dutiful 19th-century wife. There’s sweet, sickly Beth (Eliza Scanlen) and there’s Amy (Florence Pugh), the bold, artistic, and self-centered baby of the family.
And then there’s Jo.
Jo March aspires to be a famous writer. Played by Saoirse Ronan, Jo is a forward-thinking feminist who was arguably one of the first voices for strong-willed girls everywhere.
When discussing her book at the beginning of the trailer, Jo’s editor advises her, “if the main character’s a girl, make sure she’s married by the end.” Jo’s open disdain for this literary guidance reflects her viewpoint of her own life. She is headstrong and dream-filled and doesn’t believe she needs a husband in order to achieve success.
“I intend to make my own way in the world,” she informs her aunt (Meryl Streep).
But her own way is threatened by Laurie, a potential love interest played by the positively swoon-worthy Timothée Chalamet. We glimpse the duo flirting at a party and dancing alone in a hallway. In a later scene, they are arguing under a picturesque sunset, Laurie pleading for her hand in marriage. But Jo has books to write and dreams to pursue, and marriage just might get in the way of the big plans she has for herself.
Little Women was perhaps the first story of its kind to highlight the competing pressures that women face – that push-pull between family and individualism, love and career, adventure and domesticity. Though often compared to predecessors like Pride and Prejudice, the original book Little Women was so remarkable because it featured women who had goals other than marriage and children, and who held conversations about more than merely the pursuit of a husband.
The Little Women trailer is full of sweeping landscapes and artful costumes; it is packed with big-name movie stars and earnest speeches. But most importantly, it reminds us that, despite the novel’s original publication date of 1868, the story is perennially enduring and deserves to be retold to a new generation.
In a final scene of the trailer, Jo pleads with someone off-camera, her hair wild and her eyes wet with tears.
“Women, they have minds and they have souls as well as just hearts. And they’ve got ambition and they’ve got talent as well as just beauty.”
“And I’m so sick of people saying that love is just all a woman is fit for, I’m so sick of it.”
Little Women will be released in theaters Dec. 25.