Writing for IndieWire, Kate Erbland highlighted Gerwig's "ambitious elliptical storytelling" and commended her direction for being neither "heavy-handed" nor "preachy". Anthony Lane of The New Yorker said that it "may just be the best film yet made by an American woman". The Associated Press's Lindsey Bahr also praised Gerwig's direction, deeming it an "astonishing accomplishment" and an "artist's statement". Awarding the film three-and-a-half out of four, Brian Truitt of USA Today lauded Gerwig's writing as "magnificent" and said it "makes Alcott's time and language feel effervescently modern and authentically nostalgic". Mick LaSalle, writing for the San Francisco Chronicle, gave the film a mixed review, in which he complimented Gerwig's direction but criticized the nonlinear timeline and the "snooty" characters.
While the film overall received six Academy Award nominations, Gerwig was not nominated for Best Director, which was deemed a snub. Allison Pearson of The Telegraph labeled this a "whole new standard of idiocy", opining that it "belittles women's experience", while Slate's Dana Stevens theorized that Academy members believe that "women can only have a little recognition, as a treat" and that Gerwig "may now safely be ignored" since she had been previously nominated for Lady Bird. Writing for the Los Angeles Times, social psychologists Devon Proudfoot and Aaron Kay concluded that the snub was due to a "general psychological tendency to unwittingly view women's work as less creative than men's".
Jo March: Women, they have minds, and they have souls, as well as just hearts. And they've got ambition, and they've got talent, as well as just beauty. I'm so sick of people saying that love is just all a woman is fit for.
A woman put her head in very saucily to inquire if I was an invalid and [if] I had been sick long. She stared her fill and not discomposing myself at all I stared at her. She soon retired, [and] I reposed quite nicely at my ease and though my head ached did not feel as much as I thought. Ate my chicken with a relish and troubled myself about nobody.
The novel later lost its reputation as a literary masterpiece, and the title character's name became an epithet for African-Americans who cozied up to white people. History left Stowe behind too, leaving photos of a stern-looking woman who looks like the last person you'd want to sit next to at a dinner party lest she start lecturing you about a humanitarian crisis somewhere.
That image misses the real Harriet Beecher Stowe, a woman who considered slavery a moral evil but also had a sense of humor. In fact, her daughter said they spent a delightful evening with President Lincoln, trying not to bust out laughing the entire time. (It's not clear exactly what was so funny, but it probably had more to do with presidential jokes than, say, a White House whoopie cushion.)
Q. What was the ultimate impact of the book? A: It fanned out in so many ways. The immediate impact was that it helped unify anti-slavery sentiment in the North, and it fed right into the rise of Lincoln and the Republicans, which led to the Civil War. At the same time, it consolidated pro-slavery feelings in the South because they hated it. A huge defensive literature rose against it, including 30 anti-Uncle Tom novels. Q: How did Stowe become such an intense opponent of slavery in the first place? A: She grew up in a very religious family, and her father, Lyman Beecher, was the most celebrated preacher in New England. He directed Christianity toward social reform and taking active steps. He had 11 children, and many of them became social reformers, including several who were in the anti-slavery movement. She found slavery contradictory to the Declaration of Independence and to the Bible. She also had a puritanical side. She hated the idea of sexual exploitation of enslaved women. In particular, the Compromise of 1850, which imposed a stiff penalty on Northerners who assisted slaves, totally infuriated her. She was religious, and she went to a church in Brunswick, Maine, and had a vision. Instead of thinking of Christ on a cross, she thought about an enslaved black man being whipped to death, which became the culminating scene of her novel. She said other scenes came to her in a series of visions, and she believed that God had written "Uncle Tom's Cabin." Q: Did she know black people? A: When she was growing up, she knew black people mainly as servants in her family. When her mother died, she was comforted by the black servants in the family. And then when she moved to Cincinnati later on, that was right across the river from Kentucky, a slave slate. She participated in the Underground Railroad herself, and they helped one young woman to head north to freedom. She was very open with them and read most of the slave narratives of that era. She had a real Christian sympathy for African Americans. Q: Why hasn't the novel been more respected as literature? A: American literature departments from the 1930s through 1960s came to be dominated by the New Critics who didn't have too much interest in women writers to begin with, especially those who were sentimental and reform-minded and of progressive opinions. She was barely mentioned in serious histories of American literature. But with the rise of cultural studies, feminist criticism and race and gender studies, she's taken center stage. Q: How did the character of Uncle Tom get mangled over time? A: In the novel, he's in his 40s, he's muscular, he's tough, and he doesn't sell out people of his own race. He's a very strong, gentle, and compassionate man. His master considers him a rebel because he refuses to tell where runaway slave women are hiding. But over time, the stage version of the novel was much more popular, and in many of these stage versions, he became sheepish, old, and stooped. He was remodeled, and the name became the epithet we know today. Q: Would you have liked Stowe if you'd met her? I was raised as a Christian Scientist, and she had deep puritan roots as my family did. She had a spiritual sense, a belief in God, very firm moral fiber, and basically an optimistic outlook despite the suffering she endured. I get a sense from her letters that she was a very communicable person, outgoing and interested in other people. I would have loved to have known her.
The Beecher brood internalized characteristics from both parents with each child enjoying a copious education and an unwavering commitment to religion-although Harriet would struggle intensely with her religious beliefs before finding rest later on in her life. Harriet was of a mischievous nature-which is evident in a particular story she recounts from her childhood. "Mother was an enthusiastic horticulturist in all the small ways that her limited means allowed. Her brother John, in New York, had just sent her a small parcel of fine tulips bulbs. I remember rummaging these out of an obscure corner of the nursery, one day when she was gone out, and being strongly seized with the idea that they were good to eat, and using all the little English I then possessed to persuade my brothers that these were onions, such as grown people ate, and would be very nice for us. So we fell to, and devoured the whole, and I recollect being somewhat disappointed at the odd, sweetish taste, and thinking that onions were not as nice as I had supposed."
Harriet's childhood home was a modest, yet lively one that had been renovated through the years to accommodate each child. One section of the home had been dedicated to music and included a piano, flute and was often filled with song and laughter. When shenanigans were at rest among the Beechers, their attention was focused on intellectual conversation. Harriet was in awe over her uncle Captain Samuel Foote who would often visit after returning from a foreign port-his arms laden with gifts for the nieces and nephews. Harriet found him to be a "man of great practical common sense, united with large ideality, a cultivated taste and very extensive reading." Harriet's mother passed away before her sixth birthday leading Harriet to fiercely hold on to every memory she could recall. "I remember a time when every one said [mother] was sick. I used to be permitted once a day to go into her room, where she lay bolstered up in bed. I have a vision of a very fair face with a bright red spot on each cheek, and a quiet smile as she offered me a spoonful of her gruel; of our dreaming one night, we little ones, that mama had got well, and waking in loud transports of joy, and of being hushed down by some one coming into the room. Our dream was indeed a true one. She was forever well; but they told us she was dead, and took us in to see something that seemed so cold and so unlike anything we had ever seen or know of her."
Later in life, Harriet spoke fondly of her mother. "I think that her memory and example had more influence in molding [our] family, in deterring from evil and exciting to good, than the living presence of many mothers. Within two years of her mother's death, Lyman married Harriet Porter in a surprise ceremony that took place while he was out of town. When he returned with his new bride, Harriet came face to face with "a beautiful lady, very fair, with bright blue eyes, and soft auburn hair bound round with a black velvet bandeau...smiling, eager, and happy-looking and coming up to our beds, kissed us, and told us that she loved little children and would be our mother" Harriet went on to a school for young women and focused intently on the art of English composition. She specifically remembered being only nine years old when she wrote her first composition on The Difference Between the Natural and Moral Sublime. Harriet's mind was slowly awakening and those around her weren't blind to the fact. She was quickly appointed one of the writers for the annual exhibition. Her subject? "Can the Immortality of the Soul be proved by the Light of Nature?" 59ce067264