I have had to sit on this post for a couple of weeks, simply because I needed to take in all the gloriousness of the movie.
You guys. This is probably my ALL TIME favorite novel. EVER. And I admit, I like the original movie version as well, so I was skeptical at a remake.
But those doubts. They were definitely shattered.
Up for today’s book-to-movie discussion is:
Story Summary: The story of fabulously weathey Jay Gatsby and his love for the beautiful Daisy Buchanan, of lavish parties on Long Island at a time when
The New York Times noted “gin was the national drink and sex the national obsession,” it is an exquisitely crafted tale of America in the 1920’s.
source: book jacket
The Great Gatsby| Book
I first read The Great Gatsby when I was a senior in high school. I’m pretty sure I was the only one in my class who 1. liked the novel and 2. understood it. That’s what happens though since you’ve been reading since before you could talk. You learn to pick apart novels in your free time.
I don’t know if it was Gatsby himself, or the green light at the end of the dock, or the hope that flutters through the novel, or the roaring 20’s, or simply Fitzgerald’s manic and mesmerizing writing. Something hooked me from the minute I began
reading. I even found my old final from that year in my parent’s basement before my Mom and I headed out to see the movie. Aced it. That tells you what kind of Gatsby nerd I am.
Anyway, I fell in love all over again with Gatsby my junior year of college when it was the main novel for my critical writing class. We had to read The Great Gatsby and another book on literary theories, and then I wrote about six different papers that semester on the book looking through different critical lenses. So, I sort of know this story inside and out. The immense symbolism in the novel is what really gets me, and what I think honestly drives my love of the story. It seems that no matter what way I look at the novel, I can pick something new out. And it’s definitely a conversational book. Needless to say, since it’s the great American novel and a classic, I was a little scared for the new movie adaptation. There’s just so much in the story that I felt would be hard to translate to the screen–but I was hopeful. I wanted to see Gatsby come alive.
The Great Gatsby | Movie
Honestly, my expectations were met. I’ve read several reviews of the movie since it came out, and I have a feeling mine is going to be much different that others. Simply because I loved it. I thought Luhrmann nailed the story–even with his changes.
The biggest change in the novel–that I thought was going to bug me–was the fact that *spoiler* Nick is in a sanatorium and narrates his tale by talking to his shrink and writing The Great Gatsby. At first, I wasn’t sure I liked it, but by the time the movie was over and my mom and I started talking about it, I realized it was genius. In the novel, Nick narrates the tale and there was no way he could have just voice-over the entire movie. Lurhmann gave him a a way to do it so by framing the narration through Nick’s situation which in turn kept the narration true to Fitzgerald’s novel. Genius.
I absolutely loved the costumes, I loved the car–perfect representation of the monster–, I loved the party scenes, and I feel like the actors did a fabulous job of portraying the characters, especially Daisy and Gatsby. Carey Mulligan nailed Daisy’s flightiness and willingness to just toss people aside and not care about life. She was self-centered and naive. Over-the-top in the way she needed to be. As for Gatsby, I think Dicaprio was hands-down the best actor for the gig. Though I love Robert Redford DiCaprio’s handsomeness wooed me.
One of my biggest dislikes was the music–I understand the “modernization” of the score, but give me Rhapsody in Blue and 1920’s jazz any day. The rap and R&B or whatever was used just didn’t do it for me, and I feel as if the score didn’t quite fit with the atmosphere of the novel. I also was not fan of how much Luhrmann played up the romance between Gatsby and Daisy. But, I think that’s a Hollywood thing–romance sells. If viewers have actually read the novel, they’ll understand there is so much more depth to the story than just the romance, and in fact, the actual romance between Gatsby and Daisy is very miniscule in the novel.
I know a lot of viewers did not like Luhrnman’s manicness with his cinematography, but I feel as if it fit the novel. Fitzgerald was trying to capture the craziness of the roaring twenties and he was probably drunk when he wrote the book. So I felt as if the flow of the movie and the scene to scene shifts helped set the undertone of the story. But my favorite part of the whole movie was the very end scene. The last line in Gatsby is so iconic, and the story could simply not end in any other way. I applaud Luhrmann for including the exact line, and I enjoy how he visualized it. It brought forth the novel aspect for me–and it left me thinking that yes, this is a movie–but it reminded me that sometimes, the best stories aren’t on the screen–but in the pages.
Another View: If you want another opinion of The Great Gatsby book to movie, check out Alise’s thoughts over at Picture Me Reading.
Book to Movie Talk: Will you see or have you seen The Great Gatsby yet? What are your thoughts? Better than or equal too the Robert Redford version?