Since Louisa May Alcott’s seminal coming-of-age novel Little Women was published in 1868, there have been countless adaptations of the material. The latest version is written for the screen and directed by Greta Gerwig, who has recently transitioned from indie actress to award-nominated filmmaker. The plot follows the struggles of the March family during the American Civil War as four sisters near the end of childhood; Jo (Saoirse Ronan) is a budding writer, Meg (Emma Watson) has traditional aspirations, Amy (Florence Pugh) longs for a taste of the finer things in life, while Beth (Eliza Scanlen) is a highly talented pianist but is reluctant to share her music. Together and apart, we see the women contend with love, death, and marriage as they fight for independence in a society dominated by men.Continue reading “DVD review: Little Women”
William Oldroyd’s creative background lies in the theatre, and in what is just his second film as director, he takes on the challenge of adapting Nikolai Leskov’s novella Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District into a British period drama. Simply shortening the title to Lady Macbeth, the plot follows young bride Katherine (Florence Pugh) who is forced into a loveless, violent marriage with Alexander (Paul Hilton). Trapped in the huge house she was bought with, she rebels against her wicked father-in-law Boris (Christopher Fairbank) and his rules when she embarks on a passionate affair with stable-boy Sebastian (Cosmo Jarvis), and goes to great lengths to escape the existence that has befallen her.
Writer and director Carol Morley presents a coming-of-age story about teenagers in an all-girls school but one that avoids the expected scenarios of the modern teen movie genre. Setting her tale in the late 1960s, it relies on old-fashioned storytelling methods that are suitably accompanied by beautifully bewitching imagery. The plot centres around Lydia Lamb, a mixed-up girl from a broken home played by Game of Thrones’ starlet Maisie Williams. Always in the shadow of her uber-confident best friend Abbie (Florence Pugh), she yearns to discover herself and where her place is within the disciplined, cliquey society she finds herself in. At home, she is teased by her peculiar older brother Kenneth (Joe Cole) and neglected by her agoraphobic mother Eileen (Maxine Peake), which result in a bout of odd behaviour which strangely begins to spread throughout her classmates.