OH so delicious! There is nothing like a good movie, one you carry home with you like something warm and nourishing on a winter day.
I just saw Little Women.
It seems to me not long ago I wrote about another version. This one is so lovely, I can’t imagine why it wasn’t nominated for a Golden Globe, except, of course, that it’s about women, written by, directed by, and starring women. A little woman’s story about coming of age, discovering your life’s purpose, courage, generosity, death, art, and, yes, being a woman at a time which disparaged and limited almost everything about womanhood. It’s very cleverly done, flashing back and forth in time, and turning Jo March into not just the heroine but the author of the book. Jo March becomes Louisa May Alcott. As, in fact, she was.
I read the book when I was eleven and will never forget the devastation of Beth’s dying. All women writers apparently have in common that they all identified with rebellious Jo. But that never occurred to me; I wanted to be patient, selfless Beth, loved by everyone. Another book at the time had profoundly influenced me – What Katy Did, about a wild, tempestuous girl who falls off a swing, breaks her back, and learns, while paralyzed, to be patient and good. Why would I fall so hard for these impossible role models? But I did. I wanted to be paralyzed, like Katy, or dead like Beth, and good.
A gorgeous film. I’d see it again. A few flaws – does Marmee have to be so suffocatingly noble? I preferred Laura Dern as the vicious divorce attorney in Marriage Story. Timothee Chalumet is very beautiful but too young and too thin; I never believed in the possibility of him and Jo – absurd. But the sisters are wonderful and so are the supporting actors – Meryl, of course, and the heavenly James Norton and the rest. And the sets, the lighting, exquisite. Thank you, Greta Gerwig.
And now for something completely different: Last night, I watched a PBS documentary about Joe McCarthy, the man who drove my American father out of the States. What a vile, pathetic human being, who used lies and paranoia to manipulate the press and his stupid Republican base and lead a campaign of vicious intimidation that destroyed many lives. Sound familiar? I’m sure PBS made sure the comparisons with now were clear. Thank heavens my father moved to Canada.
On my way to the cinema, I bought a graphic book recommended by my cousin: The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, and the Horse. A beauty. And now for Doc Martin and other good stuff on TV. The banquet!
I spent the morning at my desk trying to figure out what I’m writing now. Because I didn’t die or become patient and good, like Beth. I became a writer, like Jo.