The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
A few weeks ago, I was aimlessly scrolling through Twitter and stumbled upon a newly released promotion for the highly anticipated Greta Gerwig film, Barbie. I immediately sent it to my friends, as they were all well aware of my anticipation for the next work of art that the director would produce, not to mention the star-studded cast including Margot Robbie, Ryan Gosling, Simu Liu, and Alexandra Shipp. This led me down a fascinating spiral into Gerwig’s directorial works.
I was originally struck by Gerwig’s directorial debut in the 2017 film, Ladybird. As an avid film-lover, I saw the rave reviews from critics and decided to give it a shot. I was enthralled by the rawness of the film’s portrayal of the mother-daughter relationship as well as its perfect encapsulation of the simple joys of high school and what first-time romantic relationships might be like for some. The film does an amazing job of balancing the incorporation of humor and tear-inducing moments.
Next up, is my personal favorite of hers, Little Women. When Gerwig announced her sophomore directorial debut alongside her accreditation as a screenwriter, I was delighted. The novel, written by Louis May Alcott, is already a classic and I was excited to see her modern interpretation of the piece. Coming from a female empowered family with two older sisters, the themes and celebration of womanhood embedded throughout the movie truly warmed my heart. All of the technical elements stood out to me immediately; the warm, dreamy hue over the flashback-adolescence scenes contrasting the cold, cooler-toned lens of the present day really brought the novel to life.
I particularly enjoyed Gerwig’s choice to revamp the character of Amy March, sister to the titular character, Jo. In much of the novel and past film adaptations, Amy has been a character without much depth. In contrast, the film chooses to portray Amy as an ambitious but cautionary character, someone who is well-aware of the time period and what is expected of a woman — but also someone who wants to find “true love”. To my dismay, despite the film having six Oscar nominations, Gerwig was not recognized for the award of Best Director; it doesn’t help that all of the nominees for Best Director were male.
Both of these stories are just a short glimpse into the feminine experience: the expectations, flaws, and beauty that encapsulate the female world. In a time as harrowing as it is now for women’s rights, it is important to be proud of our gender, and to celebrate and uplift women as a society.
If anything, I think Gerwig’s films are evidently important to watch for all ages and genders. Female directors only account for 10% of the industry, and Gerwig’s capability to both write and direct has been a joy to watch as a movie-lover.
“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.” – Jo March, from the film, Little Women.
This quote is a great reflection of Gerwig’s modern adaption of a woman’s perception in media today and how she chooses to incorporate it within her work.