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Little Women trailer reveals Greta Gerwig's adaptation of literary classic

It's time to meet the March sisters. 

The first trailer for Little Women, the coming-of-age period drama from Lady Bird director Greta Gerwig, introduces Saoirse Ronan as Jo March, Emma Watson as Meg March, Florence Pugh as Amy March, and Eliza Scanlen as Beth March — four sisters living in 1860s New England in the years following the American Civil War. An adaptation of the beloved 1868 novel of the same name by Louisa May Alcott, Little Women follows the Marches as they move from adolescence into adulthood while navigating friendship, love, and self-discovery.

The footage, which Sony Pictures Entertainment dropped on August 13, also features Timothée Chalamet as Theodore "Laurie" Laurence, a well-to-do young man who falls in love with Jo. Fans of Alcott's novel know that sparks between Laurie and Jo fly higher than fireworks on the Fourth of July, and writer-director Gerwig has promised that the chemistry between Chalamet and Ronan is off the charts. She told PEOPLE, "There is some true pairing between them that feels like what's in the tradition of great cinematic pairings. They have an energy between them that is like they become a bonfire when they're together. They're both so alive and they're both so talented and so smart and so young. When you put them together it's like combustion."

Is it getting hot in here, or is it just us? 

Gerwig also said that watching an especially emotional scene between Laurie and Jo (which we won't spoil here) breaks her heart "every time," as she sees Chalamet and Ronan as her children. "I just adore them. They are spectacular actors. I don't know how they do it, I mean it's magic. I direct them, but it's all there," she said. 

The multi-talented creative also had wonderful words for Watson, who has continued to move beyond the Harry Potter franchise that made her a household name. Gerwig said of Watson's performance as the eldest March sister Meg, "To me she embodies everything that I was interested in, in terms of who the March women were. She is lovely, she is way out there trying to do everything she can [with her activism]. And I think, in terms of what she did with the character of Meg, she has so much open-heartedness and so much love combined with that much intelligence, it's heartbreaking and potent. Because she's absolutely herself with understanding the struggle of who that character is."

Get a glimpse of Ronan, Chalamet, and Watson — plus Pugh, Scanlen, Meryl Streep as Aunt March, Laura Dern as Marmee March — in the Little Women trailer above. 

Unlike most modern adaptations of classic tales, Gerwig's Little Women won't be a copy-and-paste translation. The writer-director knows that the source material is revered, and is aware that Little Women has received the film treatment numerous times before — with two silent films in 1917 and 1918, a 1933 feature by George Cukor, a 1949 adaptation by Mervyn LeRoy, a 1978 movie by David Lowell Rich, and a 1994 flick by Gillian Armstrong. To take a traditional approach to adapting Little Women would be underwhelming, and so Gerwig has reportedly focused more on the themes of Alcott's original work than the core narrative to bring something fresh to the big screen. According to Robin Swicord, who wrote 1994's Little Women and is producing the 2019 film, Gerwig's movie is "really taking a look at what it is for a young woman to enter the adult world," and will center on the young women's lives after they leave their family home.

"It's very adult and interesting and thoughtful … and, of course, given the material, it's always going to be romantic," Swicord told The Los Angeles Times. "Greta has a wonderfully associative, well-furnished mind. Her take on the novel more than convinced us that we could bring something new to the screen."

See the fruits of Gerwig's labor when Little Women arrives in theaters on December 25.