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Little Women

I’ll never forget an English professor quoting Ecclesiastes regarding the subject of unoriginal ideas in content: “there is nothing new under the sun.” Now and then, I think of this biblical quote taken out of context, especially when considering my own writing. Humans might have the gift of being uniquely ourselves, but we’re hard-pressed to make unprecedented art.

Whenever classic stories are rebooted for a modern audience, this news often generates a few eye rolls from the jaded, overindulged consumers of entertainment. After all, is a Friends reunion really necessary? How many Spider-Man movies do we really need?

Which is to say, I recently watched Little Women (2019), Greta Gerwig’s 21st-century answer to the 1868 novel by Louisa May Alcott. So presents the age-old question, did we as a collective society, need a new Little Women? Perhaps not, but we got one anyway.

What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.

Eccl 1:9, NIV

I, for one, am grateful. The film has some misses, but all around I believe it’s an exceptional take on this story. Aside from the obvious – a jumbled timeline – the modern twists in Little Women (2019) are nuanced. Despite subtlety, the movie’s changes are unmistakably influenced by the era we live in today.

Jessica Bennett writes ‘these characters are ambitious, angry, and they have agency‘ in a (spoiler-heavy) review for The New York Times. Though the March sisters are not new figures, we’re afforded the chance to see them in a different light this time around.

It’s a treat to see this story told from a fresh perspective. We get all the heart of Louisa May Alcott’s original work updated with a respectful nod to the author herself. So what if there isn’t anything “new” under the sun of the tale that is Little Women? What’s been done will be done again. And I can’t wait to see how the next recycled version ends up.