Florence Pugh was everywhere in the last quarter of 2019, as she pushed for Midsommar and Little Women to get awards attention. Accordingly, Anna Wintour — for once, I think, landing on someone’s Moment at the right time — put her on the cover of Vogue’s Bright Young Things issue. Congrats to Fug Nationals Visa Diva, Glynis, and LiteraryLottie for sticking that landing. Now, let’s see if we think Vogue did.
The story is fun; Pugh is obviously on the rise, and with good reason. She’s charming, and she made for a good adult Amy, if a slightly confusing young one (Little Women does not want us to think too hard about how old anyone is supposed to be at a given moment; she also felt a bit too modern in face and line delivery, maybe?)(but nowhere near as insane as when Bob Odenkirk shows up and you start to wonder if the whole thing is an elaborate comedy sketch). I did think this comment, not about Florence, was interesting:
Gerwig tells me she has thought a lot about Amy recently. Amy, she reasons, “wants what she wants and she’s going to figure out how to get it. That’s the sister we don’t like. Except for now there seems to be a bit of a change: Maybe we don’t hate that girl any longer. Maybe we see that she was onto something. We’re more comfortable with ambitious girls, maybe. Which”—Gerwig concludes—“makes me a little hopeful.”
This, I think, swings and misses at why people didn’t like Amy. Now, I may be wrong about this, but I’ve never heard anyone say, “I hate Amy because she wanted things.” By and large, they say, “I hate Amy because she burned Jo’s book.” (Personally, I don’t hate her. My take is that, yes, she knew it would sting, but was too young to understand what an agonizing creative loss that would be, in part because Jo was prolific in a way that seemed to Amy to be effortless. And Jo was also pretty mean to Amy at times.) The ambition angle is not one I’d ever heard in an argument against Amy March. And while I understood the additions Gerwig made in terms of making sense of Adult Amy and Laurie, I don’t think she fully gamed them out with Young Amy in a way that was worth some other beats being compromised (like Beth). The longer I chew on it, the more I think that the split timelines created that problem. Stories and beats overlapped in pretty ways sometimes, but they didn’t build. I could talk about it all day, but this is not supposed to be about Little Women; it’s about Florence, so let’s take it to the slideshow, y’all.