The journey of the women of "Little Women"

Casey Chong
Which of these movies are you looking forward to?
The four March sisters played by Saiorse Ronan, Emma Watson, Florence Pugh and
Eliza Scanlen in Greta Gerwig's big-screen adaptation of "Little Women".

The novel "Little Women" written by Louisa May Alcott and published way back in 1868 is undoubtedly one of the most frequently-adapted books to feature-length film.

The first-ever adaptation would be the 1917 black-and-white silent film and followed by five big-screen iterations over the next few decades (1918, 1933, 1949, 1994 and 2019). The latter, of course, is by filmmaker Greta Gerwig and features four talented young actresses in the March sisters' roles; Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, Florence Pugh and Eliza Scanlen.


With the acclaimed and Oscar nominated "Little Women" showing at our local cinemas, let's take a look at the seven women's respective careers both offscreen and onscreen!

1) Greta Gerwig


Director Greta Gerwig (right) on the set of "Little Women".

Although Hollywood is traditionally dominated by male directors, it doesn't mean the women filmmakers are left behind. Or more appropriately, getting their fare shares of accolades and recognition for some of their works. Among them includes Jane Campion (1993's "The Piano"), Sofia Coppola (2003's "Lost In Translation"), Kathryn Bigelow (2009's "The Hurt Locker", 2012's "Zero Dark Thirty"), Patti Jenkins (2003's "Monster", 2017's "Wonder Woman") and Ava DuVernay (2014's "Selma"). Adding to the list of notable women filmmakers in Hollywood is the Sacramento-born Greta Gerwig, who recently made a splash with her critically-acclaimed adaptation of Louisa May Alcott's 1868 beloved novel, "Little Women". Gerwig, who got her start as an actress appearing in numerous indie films such as "LOL" (2006), "Baghead" (2008) and "20th Century Women" (2016), is better known for her behind-the-scenes duty as a director. She both acted and made her directorial debut in the 2008 romance drama called "Nights And Weekends" (2008), where she shared directing and screenwriting credits alongside Joe Swanberg. But of course, it wasn't until her sophomore directorial effort with 2017's "Lady Bird" that finally earned the distinction as one of the most acclaimed women filmmakers of today. The aforementioned coming-of-age dramedy, which starred Saoirse Ronan earned both actress and Greta herself respective Oscar nominations for Best Actress and Best Director. It even scored three more nominations including Best Picture, Best Supporting Actress (Laurie Metcalf) and Best Original Screenplay.

2) Saoirse Ronan


Saoirse Ronan plays Jo March in "Little Women".

At just 25-years-old, Saoirse (pronounced "Sur-sha") Ronan has already garnered acting recognitions for her performances in movies like "Atonement" (2007), "Hanna" (2011), "The Grand Budapest Hotel" (2014) and "Brooklyn" (2015). She also collaborated with director Greta Gerwig twice, beginning with "Lady Bird" (2017) and the recent "Little Women" - both of which earned Ronan Oscar nominations for Best Actress. In addition to her two aforementioned nominations, the highly-talented young Irish actress had also been nominated for Best Supporting Actress ("Atonement") and Best Actress ("Brooklyn"). Considering her age, earning a total of 4 Oscar nominations in the acting category is already considered a tremendous achievement that most similarly young actress could only dream of.

3) Emma Watson


Emma Watson plays Meg March in "Little Women".

Of all the young actresses who play the four March sisters, it goes without saying that Emma Watson is easily the most recognisable of them all. Prior to her great supporting performance as Meg March in "Little Women", Watson rose to stardom with her feature-length acting debut in 2001's "Harry Potter And The Sorcerer's Stone", where she played Hermione Granger. At the time, she was only 10-years-old. Throughout the decade till 2011, she reprised her iconic role in the highly-lucrative "Harry Potter" franchise. After the series finally came to a close, Watson slowly showcased her diverse acting range via different roles ranging from a romance drama (2012's "The Perks Of Being A Wallflower") and biographical crime drama (2013's "The Bling Ring") to the biblical epic (2014's "Noah") and the live-action Disney fantasy musical (2017's "Beauty And The Beast").

4) Florence Pugh


Florence Pugh plays Amy March in "Little Women".

As the rebellious Amy March in "Little Women", Florence Pugh easily upstaged most of her co-stars with her excellent supporting performance - a result that earned her a well-deserved Oscar nomination in the Best Supporting Actress category. It also marked the first-ever Oscar nomination for the 24-year-old Oxford-born young actress. Pugh made her acting debut in the 2014 little-known thriller called "The Falling", in which she co-starred alongside Maisie Williams of "Game Of Thrones" fame. But it was not until recent times that she finally gained recognition for her breakthrough performance as Katherine in "Lady Macbeth" (2016). Since then Pugh has emerged as one of today's most sought-after actresses as she appeared in movies like "The Commuter" (2018) alongside Liam Neeson and the acclaimed TV miniseries "The Little Drummer Girl" (2018), where she co-starred with Michael Shannon and Alexander Skarsgard. Then came 2019, which was particularly a banner year for the actress who starred in Ari Aster's absorbing folk-horror masterpiece, "Midsommar" and of course, Greta Gerwig's "Little Women". This year, mainstream audiences will hear more of her name when as she is set to appear alongside Scarlett Johansson as Yelena Belova in Marvel's "Black Widow".

5) Eliza Scanlen


Eliza Scanlen (far right) as Elizabeth March in "Little Women".

Unlike the other three young actresses who portray the March sisters in "Little Women", Eliza Scanlen's role of Elizabeth March is probably the lesser-known of them all. At least for the Australian actress who plays the role. She only started her acting career around 2015 beginning with a guest appearance in "A Class Act" but quickly gained recognition as Tabitha Ford in the long-running Australian soap-opera series, "Home And Away" (2016) and the acclaimed HBO miniseries "Sharp Objects" (2018) alongside Amy Adams. Her feature-film performance in "Little Women" would mark a significant breakthrough for the 21-year-old actress.

6) Laura Dern


Laura Dern plays Marmee March in "Little Women".

Laura Dern, who plays the supportive mother of the four March daughters in "Little Women" is no stranger to appearing in numerous acclaimed movies in the past. Of course, most of us (read: mainstream audiences) knows her better as Ellie in Steven Spielberg's "Jurassic Park" (1993) and to a certain extent, Vice Admiral Holdo in the critically-divisive "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" (2017). But Dern is better known for her non-blockbuster film roles, notably her earlier breakthrough performance as Sandy Williams in David Lynch's "Blue Velvet" (1986). She would go on working with Lynch in two more films including "Wild At Heart" (1990), "Inland Empire" (2006) and the TV revival of "Twin Peaks" (2017). Throughout her illustrious career, she has earned a total of 3 Oscar nominations, starting with 1991's "Rambling Rose" (Best Actress) and two Best Supporting Actress nominations (2014's "Wild" and 2019's "Marriage Story"). The latter finally earned the 53-year-old actress her first Oscar.

7) Meryl Streep


Meryl Streep plays Aunt March in "Little Women".

The great Meryl Streep may have a small role in "Little Women" but it's hard to ignore her perfectly cantankerous performance as the wealthy Aunt March. Streep's career as an actress is nothing short of legendary, with her illustrious acting resume stretching way back in the 1970s. She has already proved her worth in some of her earlier roles including "The Deer Hunter" (1978) as well as "Manhattan" and "Kramer vs. Kramer" (both released in 1979), with the latter winning her a first Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. Over the course of her long acting career, she has regularly dominated the Oscar season with a record-breaking 21 Academy Award nominations to date - a feat that no other actresses regardless of past and present are able to match until now. Other than her first win via "Kramer vs. Kramer", she went on to bag two more Oscar victories including 1982's "Sophie's Choice" (Best Actress) and 2012's "The Iron Lady" (Best Actress).