“Little Women,” August 14, 2020 (2019), DVD. There are very good reasons critics loved this most recent incarnation of Louisa May Alcott’s classic novel of the March family as written and directed by Greta Gerwig. This is a sumptuous presentation filled with the gender challenges, edginess, and several of the possible ways of dealing with the issues of identity and gender in mid-19th Century America. It’s also very adept at looking at Jo March’s/Alcott’s likely experiences in the publication of her story and how this relates to the creation of the both the plot and how we view it. They reflect our own efforts to deal with these matters but connect with the mythologized Alcott’s family story. Each daughter is unique. Jo March (Saoirse Ronan) is the author , the eldest of the four daughters of Rev. (Bob Odenkirk) and ‘Mother’ or Marmee March (Laura Dern) , radicals, feminists, abolitionists, and transcendentalists, as were the Alcotts in Concord, MA. Jo craves a life as a published author of renown but confronts the loneliness of that life. Meg (Emma Watson) seeks success through love and marriage. Amy (Florence Pugh) seeks acclaim as an artist, but knows she must marry well; Beth (Eliza Scanlen) as a good person and musician. (It was interesting to see all four of these quintessential American roles cast to non-American actresses (Ronan is Irish, Watson and Pugh, English, and Scanlen, Australian. Watson’s English accent almost creeps in on occasion.) They’re also of modest income. Yes, they have a family servant/retainer, but they are surrounded by others of great industrial wealth and feel the tension of what they view as their poverty, even as they are shown devastating, killing poverty around them. Meryl Streep is there as the controlling but pragmatic female villain of the piece, harassing Jo and Meg with a view of reality they’d rather not see. Excellent cinematography and period physical verisimilitude, although the lipstick for both males and females is shocking and overdone in one scene. Also, was there no MA accent in that day, no, not SNL’s Southie caricature, but an accent? But this is a wonderful version of the book for our times. The male characters are supporting witnesses of this female whirlwind of energy, talent, emotional determination, and love. Bob Odenkirk, Chris Cooper, Timothee Chalemet, and Louis Garrel are excellent as loving supportive male allies. It felt quite surreal seeing it as the nation spins into complete vortex of existential chaos. Our own Civil War that is, to me, foreground, not background for this personal story.