Gatsby

I just saw The Great Gatsby, and it was fantastic. Those reviewers are obviously a bunch Tom Buchanans

First of all, I saw the movie in 2D because I don’t care for 3D.

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There’s something incredibly freeing about Lurhmann adapting a work. Lurhmann is a unicorn who dreams in celluloid. There’s none of that disappointment, that- “it’s not how I pictured it.” Of course it’s not. It manages to capture the twin worlds of the books rather brilliantly. First, there’s the forced hollowness of Gatsby’s “glamour,” and I mean that in the old Faerie way of illusion, which even Gatsby is taken in by. Once he has Daisy- his Daisy that he’s dreamed of for years- who he’s had countless ghost conversations with inside his head, the movie shifts gears. The glitter blows away, your champagne goggles disappear and all of a sudden the sober morning reveals a sweet, slightly naive man and his silly, shallow, emotionally damaged love interest.
Carey Mulligan’s Daisy is wonderful. Lame and jaded in the beginning, her crack up in the third act manages to arouse your sympathy.
Leonardo DiCaprio is a sublime Gatsby. His smooth confident facade cracks spectacularly during his longed for meeting with Daisy. And the man can were a pink suit like nobody’s business. His “Old Sports” are as charming, laughable, and dorky as the Gatsby of the book.
The rest of the cast shines as well. Joel Edgerton and Isla Fisher bring unexpected humanity to characters like Tom Buchanan and Myrtle Wilson.
The small changes to the book- Nick recovering from alcoholism, as well as making Tom, Jordan, and Nick brunet didn’t lessen my enjoyment. (Was Nick blond? I assume he was since he’s Fitzgerald’s stand in, even more than Gatsby.) I also don’t remember Gatsby’s wonderful line, “Her voice is full of money,” which is a shame. It’s one of my favorites from the book.

The music is fabulous. It manages to evoke the danger, sex, and wildness of the jazz age. It’s also far more integrated than the soundtrack would lead you to believe.

I got choked up at Nick explaining to Gatsby that he didn’t need compensation, that it was just a favor. DiCaprio plays it beautifully. His cautious joy at dealing with someone who might not have an angle on his money is heartbreaking. Even though I knew what was going to happen at the end, I still found myself wishing it would end differently. That Daisy would be a stronger person. That Gatsby wasn’t so single-minded. That evil, the true evil of the careless, mindless variety that so frequently dominates our world, wouldn’t triumph.

The group of teen girls in front of my started crying. As the credits rolled one of them said between sniffs, “It was so sad!” I found myself idly wondering at what future lay in store for them. If their dreams would shatter at 30 like so many of Fitzgerald’s characters or if they were the lucky ones, “beautiful little fools.”

I didn’t read Gatsby in school. 20th century lit wasn’t my thing at 13/14. But at 25 I finally up and read some Hunter Thompson. He raved non-stop about Fitzgerald and Gatsby so, I picked up a copy and fell in love. I don’t know if it was due to my quarter century mark, the fact that I was making more money than I had any right to and spending it even faster, or that my first love was coming apart at the seams after 3 years together. But for the first time, I felt my limitations.

“Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter– tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther…. And one fine morning—
So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”

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Obviously, I’ve also been playing quite a bit of the Great Gatsby 8 bit game found here: http://greatgatsbygame.com/

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. I totally agree with you about the changes in the Nick character not taking away from me loving the film. I don’t know what so many people are getting so hung up on that. Also couldn’t agree more about DiCaprio being the perfect Gatsby. Glad to read a positive review!

    1. You’re welcome! It’s strange because everyone I’ve talked to who’s seen it, liked it. It even has an 84% from audiences on Rotton Tomatoes. I feel like it’s a case of critics really wanting the director to fail and nit-picking.

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