When I found out The Great Gatsby was being made into another movie, I was prepared for failure. The trailer made it look like nothing but sex and alcohol. Granted, that’s a big part of the setting, but yuck. But I wanted to see what they did with it. And I was especially curious to see how Leo did as Jay Gatsby.
When I read The Great Gatsby as a high school junior, I fell in love with F. Scott Fitzgerald’s pretty words. It wasn’t so much the story as it was the language that endeared the book to me and fixed it in my memory as a favorite. (I suppose that’s usually the case with my favorite books—it’s more the way the words are put together than what they mean.)
My husband (despite wanting to read the book again first) took me to see it. And let me tell you: It. Was. Fantastic. It’d been eight years since I read the story, so I was fuzzy on some of the plot points, but I felt like the film captured the essence of the book well.
At first, I was put off by what Jonathan called “stylistic” filming style, but because the story is being told through the eyes of Nick as he writes it down, it makes perfect sense that it would take on a magical quality rather than be a realistic portrayal. That style lent itself well to maintaining so much of the symbolism from the book. If it had been done any other way, some of the elements—like the green light at the end of Daisy’s dock and the oculist’s billboard—would have been overkill.
I’m no expert, but I thought the acting was excellent. The actors made the characters more sympathetic than I remembered them being. Leo did a great job as Gatsby—he captured his desperation well. I always had a special hatred for Daisy’s character, so I appreciated that Carey Mulligan helped me to see that her character didn’t have to be quite as . . . stupid as I always thought she was. And that added depth to the story.
I read the book again right after I saw it. I just love Fitzgerald’s writing style. If you haven’t read it, you should. And then, you should see the movie. So worth it!