While a bit startling (and probably pretty confusing for people who aren’t as familiar with the story beats), this non-linear storytelling provides a fresh take on the classic. This is probably most evident when it comes to Beth’s death. The film cuts between Beth’s first illness (from which she recovers) and her second (from which she doesn’t) and the audience experiences both extreme joy and sorrow over the course of only a few minutes.
At the end of the movie, we see Jo discussing the publication of her book, Little Women. She’s finally written the story of her and her sisters. Her publisher likes it, except for the ending. He insists that the protagonist needs to get married, but Jo pushes back. “She doesn’t marry anyone,” she says. Her publisher won’t accept that, though, saying that the book’s protagonist needs to either marry Laurie or Bhaer.