- Greta Gerwig's "Little Women" debuted to critics on Wednesday and earned high praise, with some saying it has a shot at several Oscars.
- The cast - which includes stars like Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, Timothee Chalamet, Meryl Streep, and more - also charmed critics. Ronan in particular generated Oscar buzz for her role as Jo March.
- Business Insider rounded up what the first audience of "Little Women" had to say about the latest take on Louisa May Alcott's novel.
- Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
Greta Gerwig's 2019 interpretation of "Little Women" has been highly anticipated ever since news of the star-studded cast rolled out, and it did not disappoint critics at its debut.
Gerwig, who was nominated for several writing and directing awards for her coming-of-age drama "Lady Bird" in 2017, is not the first to adapt Louisa May Alcott's 1868 novel for the screen. But her version manages to make the well-loved story feel new again, according to critics who attended the first screening Wednesday at the Directors Guild.
New York Times writer Kyle Buchanan said Gerwig's decision to start the movie's plot more than halfway through the book's storyline is a "fresh approach" to the source material, though a bit hard to follow.
The Hollywood Reporter's Scott Feinberg cast some doubt on whether the film is Oscar-worthy, noting lack of critical acclaim for prior adaptations, although "Little Women" has picked up some love in the past.
In 1933, a version won best adapted screenplay and was nominated for two other Oscars, Feinberg wrote. A 1949 adaptation won an Oscar for art direction and set direction in color, and in 1994 Winona Ryder was nominated for best actress for her portrayal of Jo March.
Feinberg and other critics pointed out that "Little Women" is a pleasantly optimistic addition to the Oscar lineup. That was also true of the last three best picture winners, The Ringer's Sean Fennessey said in a tweet.
The film's cast - which includes Saoirse Ronan, Florence Pugh, Emma Watson, and Eliza Scanlen as the four March sisters as well as Timothee Chalamet, Laura Dern, and Meryl Streep - also received rave reviews out of the gate.
Jenelle Riley, the deputy awards and features editor at Variety, said Ronan, who plays Jo this time around, will likely lock down her fourth Academy Award nomination.
Pugh, who played Dani in "Midsommar" and is Amy March in "Little Women," also had viewers buzzing about her performance.
"Florence Pugh is outstanding, and doesn't just steal, but snatch every viewer's eyes in each scene she inhabits," Awards Circuit editor Clayton Davis said in a tweet.
Here's what critics had to say about Gerwig and her cast in the latest depiction of Alcott's classic:
Greta Gerwig takes the straightforward story of LITTLE WOMEN and boldly scrambles it, starting two-thirds of the way through and retelling most of what you remember via flashbacks and cross-cutting. Call it Louisa May Alcott meets 21 GRAMS.- Kyle Buchanan (@kylebuchanan) October 24, 2019
Jo's lines in #LittleWomen resonate w me completely differently now as a 33 yr old single writer. Wanting to remain independent but wanting to be loved. Greta's take on the story made me connect w Jo in a way I never had. As a girl, I just thought she was crazy to reject Laurie.- Amy Kaufman (@AmyKinLA) October 24, 2019
The last three Best Picture winners-MOONLIGHT, THE SHAPE OF WATER, GREEN BOOK-end happily and portrayed the world as ultimately hopeful.- Sean Fennessey (@SeanFennessey) October 24, 2019
Greta Gerwig's LITTLE WOMEN is the first movie of the year that does just that. So...front runner? (It's inventive and wonderful.)
Saoirse Ronan is going to land her fourth Academy Award nomination for #LittleWomen at the age of 25. In related news, I needed a two-hour nap today after stubbing my toe.- Jenelle Riley (@jenelleriley) October 24, 2019
Greta Gerwig's "Little Women" is an intelligent, honorable piece of filmmaking that pays great respect to a beloved literary tale.- Clayton Davis (@AwardsCircuit) October 24, 2019
Florence Pugh is outstanding, and doesn't just steal, but snatch every viewer's eyes in each scene she inhabits. #LittleWomenMovie #FilmTwitter pic.twitter.com/YAUw9iLDZ4
Little Women is charming if not a wee bit long. Saoirse Ronan and Florence Pugh are the standout performances. Best Picture nominee...maybe?- Gregory Ellwood - The Playlist (@TheGregoryE) October 24, 2019
First #LittleWomen reax is in, spoke with SAG Nominating Committee member who saw it tonight calling it "great", praising Gerwig's direction as "distinct in vision", describing Saoirse Ronan's performance as "fierce", expects "numerous #Oscars nominations" https://t.co/znrHDKkwvh pic.twitter.com/iGeDKG8ohW- AWARDS ACE (@ErickWeber) October 23, 2019
The reaction to LITTLE WOMEN at an overflow screening at the Directors Guild is just crazy, wonderfully insane. Greta Gerwig is a goddamn rock star.- Glenn Whipp (@GlennWhipp) October 24, 2019
Greta Gerwig's @LittleWomen is wonderful. A loving, meticulously-crafted adaptation that exceeded my expectations. Heartfelt, moving and a terrific showcase for its extremely talented cast and beloved source material. pic.twitter.com/NwcMmnx9Pg- Kara Warner (@karawarner) October 24, 2019
#LittleWomen: Gerwig makes this material her own in delightful ways you'd expect and some adult-meditation-on-childhood ways I didn't. So rewarding to see the ease with which she paints on this canvas and that she (or any director these days) was given it.- Chris O'Falt (@cofalt) October 24, 2019
So I've seen Little Women twice now and it's one of my very favorite movies of the year. Greta Gerwig delivers a both passionately faithful and gorgeously original take. Saoirse is a fierce Jo, Chalamet/Dern/Streep esp are great in support, and Florence Pugh is astonishing.- David Canfield (@davidcanfield97) October 24, 2019
#LittleWomen could earn multiple Oscar noms, including best picture and directing for Greta Gerwig. As well as another for Gerwig for adapted screenplay.- Marc Malkin (@marcmalkin) October 24, 2019
As for acing noms--lead actress for #SaoirseRonan, suppporting for #FlorencePugh and possible #TimotheeChalamet.