Bwoggers Aditi Misra, Eliza Staples, and James Perry went to an advance screening of Little Women exclusively for Barnard students. Here are their thoughts on the experience.

Last Wednesday, Barnard students were alerted of an opportunity to get free tickets to an advance screening of Little Women (2019), written and directed by Barnard alumna Greta Gerwig. Students lined up hours ahead of time to snag a ticket, the line extending well into Altschul and wrapping around itself. Yesterday, a group of 300 Barnard students amassed in Times Square to see the film, including us! Here are our thoughts (if you haven’t read or watched earlier adaptations of Little Women, beware of spoilers):

On the film:

  • I cried. So much. There were so many touching moments throughout that really hit me straight in the gut.
  • There were so many beautiful shots – the cinematography was absolutely gorgeous. Who knew New England could look so pretty? (Side note: all the autumn foliage made one Bwogger so homesick for the Northeast that it caused her physical pain)
  • This adaptation of the novel, versus the 1994 film with Winona Ryder, gave the March sisters so much more depth. Instead of Amy being portrayed as whiny and self-centered throughout the film, she has a realistic and mature worldview by the end and is, quite frankly, a force to reckon with. 
  • The sisterly relationships and chemistry between Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, Florence Pugh, and Eliza Scanlen was on point!! (this Bwogger does not have sisters but totally felt like the way the actors meshed was *chef’s kiss*). We want nothing more to be a March sister performing an original play on Christmas morning
  • The focus is more on how women’s lives are complex and how sacrifices are made for family. Jo sells her writing to be able to support her sisters, and gives up living in New York to come home and take care of a sick Beth. Meg and her husband have financial troubles and are struggling to support their young family. Amy is expected to marry rich to support the family, but she aspires for artistic genius and greatness in a world where these descriptors are controlled by men. 
  • The soundtrack was incredible! There is a lot of beautiful piano music and I felt so soothed. Definitely what I needed to hear during this crazy time of the year. 
  • Meryl Streep really went hard as Aunt March.

A key part of watching any movie in the theater is being able to react to the plot en masse. Here is a non-comprehensive list of some moments that Barnard students really freaked out about. 

Big audience reactions:

  • When Timothée Chalamet (who played Laurie) came on screen for the first time, in a snazzy suit, there was an audible gasp and likely a simultaneous moan. To quote a friend that I ran into after the movie, “I don’t even like men, but Timothée Chalamet?”
  • That publisher’s line about Jo’s story needing to finish with the (female) main character being married or dead. Barnard students did NOT support this. 
  • When Amy got her foot stuck in a bucket while making a mold of it to give to Laurie. Everyone could relate. I would get my foot stuck in a bucket if it was for Timothée Chalamet.
  • When Jo and Frederich finally kiss in the rain, people clapped and cheered. This is maybe controversial: Jo has been steadfast the whole movie about not wanting to get married and not feeling attraction to men, and now we as an audience react like this? Genuinely not sure what to make of this.
  • BETH’S DEATH. They really lined us up to be heartbroken and we knew they were doing it while they were doing it but it got us anyways. 
  • When we learned that Amy calls Laurie my lord?? Yikes. There were some screams. We really are NOT fans of that at all.
  • Amy’s line about the fact that “Marriage is an economic proposition”, cue Barnard snaps.
  • Jo demanded that a school be established in her hometown, saying that there are even women’s colleges now! A riot nearly broke out right there in the theatre. Greta really said “shoutout to my Barnard gals.”
  • Jo’s rant about marriage: “Women, they have minds and they have souls as well as just hearts. And they’ve got ambition and they’ve got talent as well as just beauty. I am so sick of people saying that love is just all a woman is fit for. I’m so sick of it.” Major Barnard snaps.

This experience brought up a lot of other feelings. Here are those. 

Other thoughts that we had:

  • All these Barnard students stand OUT in Times Square at 3 o’clock on a Tuesday. Barnard people know how to dress. Times Square tourists do not.
  • I love love love Barnard.
  • The people who came to this event are Literature Girls and Timothée Chalamet Stans. Sometimes the Venn diagram of those two groups is a circle and that is OK. 
  • I purposely asked the group to sit behind the “reserved by Sony” seats with the optimism of Timothée Chalamet and Greta Gerwig showing up. They did not. 
  • The movie was beautiful and watching it with a theater filled with Barnard students was the most ideal way to do so. Watch it starting December 25th!!! (Bwog is not sponsored by Sony or Little Women).
  • “He can Timothée in my Chalamet” (this Bwogger would like to remain anonymous for this thought).
  • Greta made this movie for Barnard students.
  • There’s a question on the Barnard application about which woman (from history or fiction) you would most like to talk with for an hour. I will bet good money that half this audience wrote about Jo March.
  • Bold of this adaptation to assume that Jo March isn’t a lesbian… but, I mean, she does marry Friedrich in the book, so I guess it will do. 

Overall, we absolutely loved seeing this movie surrounded by fellow Barnard students. 100% recommend taking your mom, other relatives, or Barnard pals to see it over winter break – they’d probably appreciate it.

Image via BwogStaff