Gather around the fire, everyone, and let’s read the trailer for Little Women.
Greta Gerwig’s adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s classic — her sophomore directorial effort after 2017’s Oscar-nominated Lady Bird — hits theaters on Christmas Day (naturally), and the first trailer arrived Tuesday morning.
“We wanted [the trailer] to feel like the movie feels, which is both classical and fresh,” Gerwig tells EW and PEOPLE. “We wanted it to feel light on its feet. And even though it does take place in the 19th century, we in no way wanted it to feel like it was something that was past. We wanted it to feel like it was present right now.”
Good luck not being knocked over by the very present emotion of seeing Meg (Emma Watson), Jo (Saoirse Ronan), Beth (Eliza Scanlen), and Amy (Florence Pugh) brought to vivid life in the joyous, colorful footage, with glimpses of gentle Marmee (Laura Dern), stern Aunt March (Meryl Streep), and the wonderful, almost-irresistible Laurie (Timothée Chalamet).
“It’s like their hearts are as big as the landscape,” Gerwig says, and the two-and-a-half-minute clip is packed with love — sisterly, motherly, complicated, unconditional, unrequited, and otherwise. Watch the trailer above, and read on for a breakdown of all the ways the December release has already got our hearts soaring.
“It’s such an embarrassment of riches,” Gerwig says of choosing the right moments to introduce each cast member in the trailer. Fans of the novel will have spotted memorable episodes for each of the March sisters — like Jo burning Meg’s hair off, Meg getting married, or Amy’s time in Europe with Laurie — as well as all of them together.
“I wanted it to be both — this is the collective experience and also these are the individual journeys,” Gerwig says. “I think that’s what I love [about] the story and I think that’s what generations of readers have loved about the story.”
Saoirse and Timothée, together again
Speaking of iconic moments, the true magic of Jo and Laurie is ignited with their first dance together — done in secret to hide Jo’s ruined dress — teased in the trailer. “They are both wonderful dancers,” Gerwig promises of Ronan and Chalamet, who also starred together in Lady Bird. “I think of them as my children. I just adore them.”
The Oscar-nominated duo (with four nods, collectively) “have an energy between them that is like they become a bonfire when they’re together,” the director enthuses. “They’re both so alive and they’re both so talented and they’re so smart and they’re so young. When you put them together it’s like combustion.” But the better the chemistry, the deeper the heartbreak — so get ready for another particularly devastating scene that made it into the trailer as well.
“It breaks my heart every time,” Gerwig admits. “Every time.”
Gerwig also called on Lady Bird dad Tracy Letts to reunite with Ronan in Little Women; as Jo’s, unfortunately, conventional editor, he advises her, “if the main character’s a girl, make sure she’s married by the end.”
Jo’s distaste for this literary guidance (or life guidance) reflects Alcott’s own perspective on a woman’s place in the world — specifically, that it ought to be just wherever the woman in question desires — and the new adaptation promises to bring that aspect of the novel to the forefront.
“Women have minds and they have souls as well as just hearts,” Ronan says in a particularly affecting clip. “They’ve got ambition and they’ve got talent as well as just beauty. I am so sick of people saying that love is just all a woman is fit for. I’m so sick of it!” That quote didn’t come from the novel itself, but from Alcott’s own writings; “That’s from a letter,” Gerwig explains. “I remember reading it. I was alone in the woods. I read it and I just cried. There was something so alive about it.”
Little Women hits theaters Dec. 25. Check out the trailer above.
— With reporting from Kara Warner