‘Little Women’ was filmed entirely in Massachusetts cities and towns - Including Lawrence, MA
by Kevin Slane, Boston.com
Nearly every facet of the life of Louisa May Alcott, author of “Little Women,” was inextricably tied to the Boston area. The setting of her classic novel about the March sisters was based on her own childhood home in Concord, which lives on today as Louisa May Alcott’s Orchard House. The author moved more than 20 times throughout her life, living both in the bustling city of Boston and on a remote utopian commune in the town of Harvard. Though she grew up poor, she was raised with a rich education thanks to family friends Henry David Thoreau and Nathaniel Hawthorne, among other seminal authors and thinkers of the era.
Despite this storied history, none of the numerous adaptations of Alcott’s novel used Massachusetts as a primary filming location until Greta Gerwig arrived in 2018 to film “Little Women.” The movie has received rave reviews, and it was named the top film of the year by the Boston Society of Film Critics.
To properly tell the story of the March sisters — aspiring writer Jo (Saoirse Ronan, “Lady Bird”), nurturing eldest sister Meg (Emma Watson, “Harry Potter”), troublemaker Amy (Florence Pugh, “Midsommar”), and kind-hearted Beth (Eliza Scanlen, “Sharp Objects”) — Gerwig felt it was crucial to immerse herself in Alcott’s world by filming in Massachusetts.
“To shoot in Concord, in Massachusetts, in this area, in this environment, was really essential in how I wanted to build this movie,” Gerwig told the Boston Globe during a press day at Orchard House earlier this month. “It’s significant. The place matters as much as anything. The same way it was meaningful to shoot ‘Dunkirk’ at Dunkirk, it was meaningful to shoot this movie here.”
Appleton Street, Lawrence
Along with scenes shot in Back Bay, filmmakers looked to Lawrence when recreating the feel of 1800s New York City. Crews used a pedestrian-only section of Appleton Street next to city hall, erecting signs on the brick buildings for period-appropriate businesses like a ladies millinery selling bonnets and “under clothing,” a piano and organ shop run by “Broadway Billy,” and the Knickerbocker Hotel.