I missed to watch Little Women in theaters in January, and was eagerly waiting for its arrival on OTT.
Unlike Parasite, Joker and Marriage Story which were hard hitting to the conscience of viewers, and made noise at award venues, Little Women was rather an elegant and flawless romance story we would always cherish for.
It is a women centric movie and a period romantic drama, the latter being one of my favorite genres. But these are not the reasons I waited eagerly for this masterpiece. It is because of its cast, Saoirse Ronan and Emma Watson, who happened to be and are still my celebrity crushes. (Courtesy – Lady Bird, Atonement, and Harry Potter)
Let me give my observations on the themes and the subject of this movie, from a male and a non-feminist perspective.
We have very few popular women novelists. The reasons are many; historical and patriarchal. Most of us already had huge dose of lessons and lectures through various medium about women problems, and Little Women also strives to drive these lessons into our minds, in a beautiful way that we would have never imagined by a talented female director.
I am of the opinion that Jane Austen has been the torch bearer of feminism among English literature. Whatever may be the themes and women centric narratives she had in her master pieces, almost all of her novels had beautiful, romantic and heartwarming storylines. A self-dependent woman would be the heroine, and the universe conspires to give her all the troubles in the form of marriage.
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott is no less than Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. The young and beautiful sisters have to get married at any cost to have a stable life. That’s an abstract plot line I could say.
One of the little women in the movie says, Marriage is a social contract.
When a woman’s life, since ages, is surrounded by the prospect of marriage, she would not have anything like ambition, recognition for talent or at least a sense of freedom to live. Marriage is still a social contract with more emphasis on economic advantages and liabilities, and to be brutally honest, the Indian arranged marriages today are more of a business contract with extra emphasis on serving free meals to an entire town.
If we remove marriage as a necessity in life, for both genders, there would be no epics, no novels, no stories, no movies and no songs. Unfortunately, it has become a necessity to stamp its authority to validate a relationship and give a societal justification to love.
Ok, lets come to Love. Crazy, Stupid Love. This is the only thing which is more devastating than any other feeling in reality, but appears beautiful and poetic in movies and literature. If there was no love in this world, Ilayaraaja and AR Rahman would not have had a career in music.
Again in Little Women, in one of the scenes utterly reflecting today’s reality, the young lady laments for turning down a proposal from a nice friend saying her ambitions are more to her than loving a person and being stuck in a marriage. This is a unique catch 22 situation for any woman, even today.
To love or to be loved? What do we need?
Women crave to be loved, and care to be loved, and they mistake that to possess this feeling of ‘to be loved’ is equal to that of loving the person from whom they are expecting love. Hence, I could relate the reason for many relationship breakups today.
Women are under an impression that they have hearts, so they can be loved but not souls and minds so that they can embark on career to pursue their ambitions and interests. Times have changed and fortunately, this is not happening today.
I am glad to thank this movie for not showing men as villains in the disguise of patriarchy or men being too chauvinistic in their attitude. Instead, the movie portrayed men as being gentle who strive to enable women to the pinnacle of happiness.
Dear Ladies and Gentlemen, we need each other for eternity.
With love, A Gentleman from Chennai.
Little Women is on Amazon Prime.
Images taken from Vanity Fair.