Greta Gerwig’s “Little Women” has certainly been in the conversation this past holiday week — from finding success at the box office despite its decidedly non-mainstream appeal, to sparking a New York Times opinion piece about how men are allegedly dismissing the film. Gerwig’s refreshingly modern spin on the Louisa May Alcott classic — which charts the personal, romantic, and professional highs and lows of the March sisters and their coming of age in post-Civil War New England — infuses the ensemble period piece with a contemporary sensibility that ushers this much-tread literary landmark into the hearts and minds of a new generation.
Now, you can read the full screenplay for the film online, as shared by Variety, here. Gerwig structures the film across two timelines that flow seamlessly together, so we see the four March sisters as strong-willed teenagers and twentysomethings, as well as younger, and perhaps not yet as wise. The screenplay shows the clear path Gerwig laid out for her characters.
Gerwig has, throughout the awards season, stressed the modernity already inherent to Alcott’s tome. “So much of the book is about money, and women, and art and money, and how do you make art if you don’t have money? When I went in to talk about the book, I said, ‘This is what I feel this film is really about,’” Gerwig said when the film first screened. “People remember the book as this pre-Victorian reality of everything being all tied up, but embedded in that is a lot [where] you forget how messy and wild it is.”
Gerwig also told IndieWire’s Anne Thompson, “The audience is nostalgic for the same things they are. The book is the golden snow globe of childhood and memory. The movie’s not so much a flashback as everything is moving forward together. I wanted it to feel heightened, like you’re opening a jewel box, you’d want to live inside of it and eat it, there was magic to it, like the world was right in this coziness. It’s one way to tell the audience that the film is in control, it’s not just an intravenous experience of the story; something else is going on. All artists preserve the moment by writing it down. Whether it’s ‘The 400 Blows,’ ‘Amarcord’ or ‘Fanny and Alexander,’ they’re capturing this thing that is already gone.”
Here’s the full screenplay available to read.