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The 1994 film, on the other hand, could be seen as a corrective to earlier versions, focusing not on who the March sisters might marry, but rather what kind of women they might become.
Both Swicord and Armstrong read “Little Women” numerous times in their young lives and delved into research about Alcott’s life and the ways her journey mirrored and departed from her fictional stand-in, Jo.
(Alcott wrote two sequels, “Little Men” and “Jo’s Boys,” but Gerwig’s movie will focus on the first book.)“It’s really taking a look at what it is for a young woman to enter the adult world,” Swicord says.
“It’s a clear-eyed approach to the challenges women face as they try to bravely move into new situations.”Previous film versions of “Little Women” — George Cukor’s 1933 adaptation starring Katharine Hepburn; a 1949 Technicolor take directed by Mervyn Le Roy and starring, among others, a young Elizabeth Taylor; and the 1994 movie Swicord wrote — have followed a linear approach to Alcott’s novel to varying degrees of success. The first, arriving in 1868, followed the impoverished March women as they persevered through the father’s absence during the Civil War. Titled “Good Wives” in some markets, it jumps ahead three years, looking at Meg’s marriage and motherhood; Jo’s move to New York, where she tries to establish herself as a writer; and Amy’s European tour with the family’s wealthy, widowed Aunt March.
Chalamet makes for a natural Laurie, the charming and rich neighbor who falls in love with the March family and ends up proposing to two of the sisters. Chalamet and Ronan are “Lady Bird” alums, leading one to wonder if perhaps Laurie Metcalf, who earned an Oscar nomination playing Lady Bird’s combative mother, might slide into the “Little Women” cast, taking the Marmee role.