This is the umpteenth adaptation of the classic Louisa May Alcott novel, and it’s safe to say this one is in the running for best adaptation of the story—ever. Directed by rising directorial juggernaut Greta Gerwig (the magnificent, ultra-fantastic Lady Bird)—who has a vision with her films that declares, “Hey, we aren’t screwing around here!”—her third feature effort is an across-the-board stunner. It’s a beautiful thing to look at due to some of the year’s best art direction and camerawork. It’s also chock-full of tremendous performances, and it’s written and directed by Gerwig, whose vision makes this an admirable update of a precious work. The incredible Saoirse Ronan, who also starred in Lady Bird, headlines as Jo March, eldest sister of the March clan, which includes three others: Meg (Emma Watson), Amy (Florence Pugh) and Beth (Eliza Scanlen). Ronan, not surprisingly, makes the intrepid character of Jo her own, a budding writer who is trying to get her ideas past a crusty editor (Tracy Letts, who had a damn fine 2019). Gerwig, in a departure from past adaptations, focuses more on the girls as adults, with flashbacks to their younger days. In doing this, she has chosen not to cast Amy with two different actresses. Pugh, who is well into her 20s, plays Amy at every stage, even falling through the ice as a pre-teen. I’d say that was an odd choice, but the other choice would be to have less screen time for Pugh, and I say a big no to that. Yes, she doesn’t look like she’s 12, but who cares? She’s a master in every scene. Timothée Chalamet steps into the role of Theodore “Laurie” Laurence, and there couldn’t have been a better choice for the role.