Oscars Contenders Illuminate American Past and Present

  • Variety
Oscars Contenders Illuminate American Past and Present
Great movies always speak directly to the here and now regardless of their actual settings. Taken together, six of 2019’s best-picture nominees manage to survey still-potent American themes across the span of the past century and a half.

Little Women” is set during the Civil War, and while the adaptation, like Louisa May Alcott’s beloved novel, takes place far from those bloody battlegrounds, writer-director Greta Gerwig wants us to remember that all women were struggling for their own agency back then — and that the struggle continues on to this day. Most film versions of the Alcott classic, including a 1933 best picture nominee, fade in on a snow-covered country home and the four March girls’ readiness for Christmas. Gerwig’s “Little Women” fades in on a bustling city street, and an older Jo March’s readiness to play hardball with a (male) publisher. The filmmaker is signaling an interest in
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