Laurie’s Proposal and More Unforgettable Moments of Greta Gerwig’s ‘Little Women’ (2019)

There’s nothing quite like revisiting the timeless pop culture classic, “Little Women.” Originally written by American novelist Louisa May Alcott and was published in two volumes in 1868 and 1869, the story of “Little Women” has stood the test of time.

Over the years, it has been brought to life on the silver screen in various adaptations, including the 1994 version starring Winona Ryder, the 2017 mini-series featuring Maya Hawke, a Korean modern spin in 2022, and the modern classic directed by Oscar-winning filmmaker Greta Gerwig in 2019.

In this article, we will delve into the standout scene of the 2019 film: Laurie’s proposal to Jo March. Additionally, we’ll explore other unforgettable moments from the movie that serve as poignant reminders of why this novel, no matter how many times it’s adapted across different storytelling mediums, continues to resonate with audiences.

Join us as we unravel the enduring charm and lessons embedded in “Little Women.”

Laurie’s Proposal Script

"It’s no use Jo. Jo we’ve got to have it out. 
I have loved you ever since I've known you Jo I couldn’t help it
And tried to show you and you wouldn’t let me which is fine
But I must make you hear now and give me and answer because I can’t go on like this any longer
I gave up billiards, I gave up everything you didn’t like, I’m happy I did
It’s fine and I waited, and I never complained because—you know I figured you’d love me, Jo. 
And I realize that I’m not half good enough and I’m not this great man "

One of the most memorable moments in the film is the captivating performance by Timothée Chalamet and Saoirse Ronan in an iconic scene. This particular sequence has left such a lasting impression on audiences that even the most devoted fans might find themselves reciting the entire dialogue from memory.

Although the scripted lines differ slightly from what was spoken on screen, the actors infused their own unique flair, skillfully bringing the characters and their emotions to life. This added touch is truly amazing.

Original Script
JO
Why? Should we run off and join a
 pirate ship?

He looks at her, and inhales, about to talk. Jo sees his face
and immediately knows what is about to happen.

JO
(panicking)
No, Teddy -- please don’t.

LAURIE
It’s no use Jo; we’ve got to have
it out..

JO
No, no, /we don’t...

LAURIE
I’ve loved you ever since
I’ve known you Jo -- I
couldn’t help it, and you’ve
been so good to me -- I’ve
tried to show it but you
wouldn’t let me; now I’m
going to make you hear and
give me an answer because I
can’t go on like this any
longer.

JO
I wanted to save you from
this, I thought /you’d
understand.

LAURIE
(not listening to her)
/I’ve worked hard to please
you, and I gave up billiards
and everything you didn’t
like, and waited and never
complained for I hoped you’d
love me, though I’m not half
good enough --

JO
Yes, you are, you’re a great deal
too good for me, and I’m so
grateful to you and so proud of
you, I don’t see why I... I can’t
love you as you want me to.

Amy’s Burden

It’s no secret that Amy was consistently treated as secondary to Jo. While the audience might not fully grasp the depth of this dynamic, it was Amy who shouldered the burdens and expectations placed on Jo.

In a pivotal scene with Laurie, now a grown woman and no longer the immature girl she once was, Amy captures Laurie’s attention and wins his affection. Laurie subtly suggests that they should be together, prompting Amy to vent her frustration about being used as a substitute for Jo.

Initially the helper and companion to their affluent Aunt March, Jo’s strong and unyielding personality prompted Amy to assume the role during their European trip. The expectation for marrying a wealthy man originally fell on Meg, but her choice of love over wealth shifted the burden to Jo, who resisted, knowing she didn’t truly love Laurie. Subsequently, the burden passed to Amy. In a selfless effort to prioritize the family’s survival, Amy was willing to marry a wealthy man even if she didn’t love him.

This scene captures the weight of the burdens Amy shouldered for her family and her frustration at perpetually feeling overshadowed by Jo, especially when Laurie expressed interest in her. In the end, Amy surpasses expectations by honing her skills as a painter and marrying Laurie, whom she genuinely loves. Her decision not only saves the family but also earns her love and respect as an individual, no longer confined to the shadows of Jo.

Meg’s Dream

In this scene, it’s Meg’s wedding day, a day she chooses to marry for love. Jo, resistant to the idea of marriage, attempts to convince her older sister to run away and avoid getting married. Meg responds with a crucial line: ‘Just because my dreams are different than yours, doesn’t mean they are unimportant.’

Jo has always admired Meg for her beauty, wit, and talent. Jo fears that marriage will jeopardize these qualities, reducing Meg to just another wife. However, Meg asserts that her dream is to settle down and have a family, offering a significant contrast to the modern age where women are encouraged to pursue careers and strong financial independence.

However, this modern expectation lead to extremes, with societal judgment on women who choose a more traditional path as homemakers. It’s essential to recognize that this choice could simply be embracing being a ‘Meg,’ and there’s nothing wrong with that.

Beth’s Cause of Death

In the film, Beth March consistently showed her readiness to help the Hummel children, often being the sole visitor to their home. Unfortunately, this selfless act might have led to her contracting scarlet fever.

It’s a sad truth that reflects what Aunt March warned Jo about, that helping others more than yourself can be right but is foolish.

However, ultimately, Beth’s actions were not regarded as foolish by anyone. Despite succumbing to her sickness, Beth is affectionately remembered as the kindest sister who, despite her shyness, willingly stepped up to help those in need. She had a profound love for music and cherished all her sisters. Her warmth and love continue to resonate in the hearts of those who knew her.

Beth March, the gentle giver, the loving sister, and the beautiful pianist, left an indelible mark, proving that her acts of kindness were not in vain and continue to be a source of inspiration and remembrance.

Jo: “I care more to be loved”

In the tragic event of losing a sister, the pain becomes too much for Jo to bear. Her typically strong personality finally cracks as she admits she is willing to marry Laurie, not out of love, but out of a desperate desire to be loved. It is a vulnerable moment where the unshakeable heroine succumbs to the weight of her grief. After learning of Laurie’s impending marriage to one of her sisters, she bravely puts on a supportive face, concealing the inner turmoil that even the strongest among us would feel shaken by.

However, in the aftermath of these heart-wrenching events, there is a glimmer of hope. The sisters find solace in reuniting and supporting each other through their shared pain. Jo, in particular, discovers a renewed spark for her passion—writing.

Eventually, Jo fulfills her long-held dream of publishing a book. This success emphasizes the message that staying true to oneself, even amid profound loss, can bring personal growth and ultimate success. Jo’s journey showcases the resilience that comes from staying authentic and true to one’s passions.

In the timeless narrative of “Little Women,” the dreams and virtues of each March sister serve as enduring lessons that resonate with audiences across generations. Meg’s embrace of a traditional dream, Beth’s role as a gentle giver, Amy’s selflessness, and Jo’s unwavering bravery collectively weave a tapestry of wisdom and inspiration for all.

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