Greta Gerwig and the Politics of Women's Genres


literature film

With the properly cinematic resources of space, time, and mise-en-scne, Gerwig approaches these contradictions as Alcott could not. Intercut with the meeting with Dashwood is a generically romantic resolution to the story - Jo’s dull professor-ex-machina, Friedrich Bhaer (Louis Garrel), is retrieved from the train station on the brink of departure by a whole troop of Marches and March hangers-on in a rom-com race to unite the hetero-couple. However, the images of this resolution do not actually depict a proposal or a wedding. Rather, after the professor is brought together with Jo for the kiss that signifies traditional closure, the scene continues. A sweeping overhead long take, in motion like much of the film, depicts Bhaer as one among many teachers, family members, and students who fill the halls and grounds of the (integrated and co-ed) school Jo sets up at Plumfield, the home she inherits from Aunt March. (Meryl Streep introduces all kinds of intertextual noise in this role, one note of which derives from her turn as Emmeline Pankhurst in 2015’s Suffragette.)

Ambidextrous Authorship: Greta Gerwig and the Politics of Women’s Genres, Patricia White in Los Angeles Review of Books