The Great Gatsby


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The Great Gatsby

I know I read the book and saw the movie starring Robert Redford and Mia Farrow back in high school, but that was in the long long ago.  I remember very few details from the book, so this review will focus on this adaptation of The Great Gatsby and not compare the book to the film.

At last, after being changed from a December 2012 release, to a December 2013 release, then pushed up to a May 2013 release, Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby has arrived.  Starring real-life friends Leonardo Dicaprio as Jay Gatsby and Tobey “Spider-Man” Maguire as Nick Carraway, The Great Gatsby is every bit as glamorous and glitzy as you would expect it to be.  Narrated by Nick as he is talking to a therapist in 1929, the story takes place during one summer a few years earlier while he is working in New York City and renting a cottage on the grounds of a spectacular mansion owned by the eccentric Gatsby.  Gatsby throws lavish parties, and everyone comes to attend, but very few people have actually met the man.  Across the bay from Gatsby live Nick’s cousin Daisy (Carey Mulligan) and her husband Tom Buchanan (Joel Edgerton) in their own fancy mansion.

Tom has a secret – he has a mistress.  Myrtle Wilson (Isla Fisher) is the wife of George Wilson (Jason Clarke) who owns a gas station which is en route from the outskirts of the city, where the major players live, to New York City.  One day, Nick accompanies Tom to the city for lunch where they meet up with Myrtle and her friends at the flat Tom rents for Myrtle for their trysts.  The champagne flows as they party well into the night, when Nick proclaims his love for NYC.  Soon after, he notices someone in the spectacular mansion noticing him.

Then he receives a formal invitation to one of Gatsby’s fancy parties.  At first it seems like Gatsby might have been trying to put the movies on Nick, but soon his real agenda is revealed.  Daisy’s friend Jordan Baker (Elizabeth Debicki) tells Nick that Jay wants him to invite his cousin Daisy to his cottage for tea.  Turns out, Daisy and Jay were former lovers.  When Jay went overseas to fight in World War I, Daisy waited for him as long as she could, but she ended up marrying Tom.  Jay never got over his love for Daisy, and he wanted Nick to arrange this tea date for them.  The humorous part of this movie is Jay’s over-the-top preparations to get the cottage ready for the date.

Once Daisy and Jay are reunited, it seems that all will be well.  She will confess her true feelings to Tom and then she and Jay will live happily ever after.  Unfortunately, this isn’t a fairy tale.  If you’re familiar with the story, you know what happens.  If you don’t, I won’t spoil it for you.

Since I have a particular affinity to the styles of the 1920s, I enjoyed the costumes and fashions that were in this film.  However, I’m not sure why, but there was an overly excessive amount of Jay-Z music in this film.  It kind of took me away from the time period, as Jay-Z’s “Empire State of Mind” and Beyonce’s “Crazy in Love” (even though it was a slower, dreamier version) just don’t belong in 1920’s New York!!  Yes, he was an executive producer of the movie, but come on, use music that fits with the time period.  It’s annoying when modern music is used in movies set decades ago.

With an almost two-and-a-half hour running time, The Great Gatsby surprisingly didn’t drag.  In fact, the 3D and CGI effects immersed me completely in the film.  I hope Leonardo DiCaprio is recognized for his role in this film.  The poor guy always plays doomed characters, yet he’s never won an award for anything!!

Here’s a fun game: Count how many times Gatsby says the phrase “old sport” to one of the other characters.  I didn’t but I wish I had.  He said it a lot!!

Madison Monroe -Madison Monroe

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