This version of The Great Gatsby is the rarest of all movie birds, a heartbreaking human drama that has achieved a mass audience.
This rendition of the F. Scott Fitzgerald’s American classic novel was written by Baz Luhrmann (also directed by Baz also produced by Baz). Luhrmann has a history of handling the writing and directing tasks in his projects. Movie buffs will remember his 2008 attempt at a big screen epic with Australia and the 2001 Moulin Rouge. The Great Gatsby is a vastly superior film. Luhrmann takes enormous pains in even the smallest things in his direction, which we notice in the opening credits, which are sort of a grand, opulent Art Deco statement to an early scene where a writing instrument is just perfect.
The casting is also brilliant. Tobey Maguire plays the movie’s narrator, Nick. Maguire is the classic odd man out and fits the Nick character exactly. Carey Mulligan is the leading lady, a married woman named Daisy Buchanan. Her husband is the odious Tom Buchanan, played with a vacuous brutality by Joel Edgerton. The naive, driven, obsessive and mysterious Jay Gatsby is played by Leonardo DiCaprio in perhaps his greatest role yet, certainly his most complex.
For those who missed the novel in American Literature in 11th grade, like me, the story is of lost love. Gatsby and Daisy fall hard for each other just before Jay leaves for the French front in World War I. After the war he builds a fabulous fortune in order to be respectable match for Daisy in the eyes of her well to do parents – but neglects to inform Daisy who naturally moves on.
Sadly, she moves on to a rich, but empty man with no discernable morals. Gatsby returns with a determination to recapture Daisy. We know this can’t have a happy ending, but we want desperately for that outcome.
There are many wonderful things about this movie. Music director Craig Armstrong is responsible for a temporal mix of old and current music that shocks, but works. The scenes of Gatsby’s parties are colorful, complex and the very emblem of the kind of decadence that made the Roaring 20s famous. And the characters travel back and forth from Big Egg to Manhattan through the bad lands of working class New York in a surrealistic satire of the social classes. Wow.
This is as close to perfect as movie making gets. Fans who want a major production geared for adults who appreciate true drama, excellent acting and world-class direction, this is it. This is a five saw blade movie with a PG-13 rating. It lasts two hours and 23 minutes.
Fun fact, The Great Gatsby was filmed in Australia, which saved the producers tens of millions of dollars.
With those savings the $105 million actually spent will likely be returned. Projections were for a $50 million opening weekend.
A thrill if you loved the book
Something has drawn many people to F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel The Great Gatsby. Maybe it’s the story, the characters, the parties, or maybe it’s a feeling in the back of one’s brain that someday, Leonardo DiCaprio would play Gatsby. Whatever it is, it has entranced me, and so on opening night I found myself putting on my Gatsby t-shirt and going to the movies.
This latest version is the newest of five different takes on Fitzgerald’s famous novel. The role that was once played by Robert Redford has now been taken by Leonardo DiCaprio. For some who may be unfamiliar with the storyline, The Great Gatsby is about Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire), a Midwesterner who spends the summer living on Long Island in 1922. His cousin, Daisy Buchanan (Carey Mulligan), lives in old money East Egg with her husband, Tom (Joel Edgerton). Nick lives next door to the mysterious and rich party host, Jay Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio). Nick is thrown into the world of the romantic dreamer, the careless socialite and the controller.
The choice of actors was absolutely perfect. The combined talents of the previously mentioned actors, as well as Elizabeth Debicki as Jordan Baker, gave the exact feeling that I had from reading the book. They were all cast very well. They fit into their roles as if they were part of them. I was very impressed.
I will confess that before seeing The Great Gatsby I was worried because I didn’t know if it would add or detract from the book. Allow me to offer my words of comfort for those other Gatsby lovers out there: don’t worry. I was very pleased with the angle that had been taken on the overall storyline. Nick is still the narrator, and much of the narration is the actual text from the book. I was pleasantly surprised with the manner that the narration was handled, allowing Nick to really become the storyteller.
I was very pleased with the way that the movie stayed with the book. It was very well done. The elements of the book that make it so great are still found in the movie, although some of the more deep symbolism and hidden meanings are more explicitly explained, to allow for overall enjoyment from the audience. So, the movie can be enjoyed by all, even those who have not read the book.
The Great Gatsby was very well made and enjoyable. However, it is not appropriate for all audiences, and earned its PG-13 rating. Other than that though, I highly recommend seeing The Great Gatsby. And, as in the words of Fitzgerald, “tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther… And one fine morning?”
Could win ‘Oscars’
Baz Luhrmann brings the “Great American Novel” to life in this extraordinary, stunning, clever, and visual masterpiece, known as The Great Gatsby!
The Great Gatsby brought in $50.1M on its opening weekend, placing second on the chart right after Iron Man 3. This movie is one of the rare cases where the movie is accurate to the book. So if you loved the book you will love the movie.
The Great Gatsby follows the narration of Nick Carraway, a World War I veteran, as he recalls the events to his psychiatrist of what drove him into depression, in which he also writes into a novel about the time he moved to Long Island to become a bond salesman. During a visit to his cousin Daisy, he hears many rumors of his neighbor Gatsby. Soon after his visit, Nick is given an invitation to one of Gatsby’s amazing parties, and that’s where the events begin.
The Great Gatsby features many great actors. Tobey Maguire (who you might recognize as Spider-Man) comes to the big screen once again for the role as Nick Carraway.
And who plays Gatsby you might ask? Well none other than Leonardo DiCaprio himself. DiCaprio, known for his diverse roles in Inception, Shutter Island, and of course his most famous role as Jack in Titanic, returns for the role of Jay Gatsby – a millionaire with many rumors of who he is, and how he came by his fortune, in what could be an Academy Award-winning performance.
Carey Muligan, an upcoming British actress from Drive and Pride and Prejudice performs the role of Daisy Buchanan, the cousin of Nick who is torn between Gatsby, an old love from five years ago, and Tom, her husband who has constant affairs. Carey Muligan gives a truly emotional and terrific performance.
My prediction is that The Great Gatsby will be nominated for at least three Academy Awards for Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role, Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role, and the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects.
The Great Gatsby was a truly fantastic movie, with amazing acting.
This movie is set back in the Roaring ’20s, during the time of bootlegging, gangsters, and flappers. Gatsby does a terrific job of recapturing the scenery, tone, costumes, and feel of the ’20s. It covers the secret bars, the old New York City, the difference between the blacks and whites, the rich and the poor, and so much more.