When the March sisters discover they have a dashing young neighbor, Theodore “Laurie” Laurence, he becomes both an honorary member of their circle and a disruptor who will ultimately fall in love with two of the sisters, in Columbia Pictures’ Little Women. Taking the role is Timothée Chalamet, who caught the global spotlight with his Oscar®-nominated role in Call Me By Your Name, as well as Greta Gerwig’s Lady Bird.
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For director-screenwriter Gerwig, Laurie and Jo (Saoirse Ronan) are mirror images. “Jo is a girl with a boy’s name and Laurie is a boy with a girl’s name,” she notes. “He is the gender-flipped twin of Jo. And what Timothée did with him was magical. As female viewers, we all have had this experience of imagining ourselves as boys, because so many main characters are boy, and we project ourselves into a boy’s journey. But through Timothée we see a boy projecting himself into a female world, which makes for something really special.”
Chalamet’s chemistry with Ronan reignited. “Timothée matches Saoirse in gorgeousness, talent and emotion, which was so necessary because Jo and Laurie are doppelgangers,” says producer Amy Pascal.
For Chalamet, Laurie only comes into his own through meeting the March sisters. “Laurie didn’t have the most idyllic childhood,” he explains. “Financial holdings he does have but he never had friends as he was home-schooled and essentially locked up with his tutor Mr. Brooke. So, when he discovers such tantalizing and root-like relationships with these girls, it allows him to grow.”
As he grows, he also gets his heart shattered by Jo. She always seemed to be his unquestionable soulmate, but their friendship existed outside the rules—something Jo knows the formality of marriage would alter. Chalamet thinks perhaps Jo and Laurie might have worked out in a more perfect world. “There’s a case to be made that their friendship could have led into a great married life,” he says. “But an argument can equally be made that they’re so similar they might have torn each other apart.”
However, these rules of society do shape Laurie and Jo’s relationship, and later, Laurie and Amy’s. As they grow into adults, Laurie and Amy (Florence Pugh) accept many of the constrictions imposed by society, but underlying these is a very real love. This is the fitting conclusion: where Laurie’s love for Jo was intense but ephemeral, the love he finds for Amy is abiding and deep.
Ronan loved reuniting with Chalamet in a whole other space and time from Lady Bird. “Having gotten to know each other on Lady Bird really helped us to settle straight into that brother-sister relationship,” she says. “There’s a level of security you get from working with the same actor. He’s also very brave as an actor, willing to take risk after risk, which made him so right for Laurie.”
Praised by the London Critics Circle as “heartwarming, laugh-out-loud funny and powerfully emotional,” Little Women received six Oscar nominations including Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress and Best Adapted Screenplay.
The film currently has a 95% Fresh Rating at Rotten Tomatoes, with an overall critical consensus that reads, “With a stellar cast and a smart, sensitive retelling of its classic source material, Greta Gerwig’s Little Women proves some stories truly are timeless.”
Portraying the March sisters Jo, Meg, Amy, and Beth, Little Women stars Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, Florence Pugh, Eliza Scanlen, with Timothee Chalamet as their neighbor Laurie, Laura Dern as Marmee, and Meryl Streep as Aunt March.
In Philippine cinemas February 19, Little Women is distributed by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International. Join the conversation and connect with the hashtag #LittleWomenMovie