My Two Cents

….on The Great Gatsby…..the movie

Last Friday, the ladies from my book club and I attended the screening of the latest version of The Great Gatsby. I have to tell you that when I read the book in high school I couldn’t relate to the novel and I didn’t like it. After reading it a second time for our book club, I did discover that I liked it a little bit more but I still couldn’t get my head around the excesses of the era. The lists of meaningless names, the extravagant lifestyle, the excessive drinking and the hordes of uninvited selfish party goers confused me and left me cold.

That said and after hearing some negative reviews I didn’t have high hopes for the movie.  In the first half hour, which highlighted the outrageous parties at Gatsby’s house and where we were introduced to the main characters, I thought my worst fears were coming to fruition. I had heard that the background music didn’t fit with the 1920s era and sure enough during the party scenes our senses were assaulted with hip hop music. I don’t know if the director did this to appeal to a younger crowd but it didn’t work for me and I like hip hop.

Not everything was bad about this movie, In fact I enjoyed most of it. Nick Carraway, played by Tobey Maguire, tells us the story through his written journal entries after he is encouraged by his doctor to write down his experiences of that fateful summer when he lived next door to Gatsby. We see how a naive young man is sucked into the lifestyle of high society, ambition and excessive alcohol consumption while remaining loyal to Gatsby and in the end being Gatsby’s only friend.

I also enjoyed the performances of Leonardo DiCaprio, who played Jay Gatsby and Carey Mulligan who played Daisy. Luhrmann’s Gatsby becomes increasingly more real as the characters become more developed in the last half of the movie. This is definitely not the Gatsby we studied in our high school English class. It is rare when I like a movie better than  the book. I gave the book a 3 out of 5.

Movie Rating: 4 out of 5

8 thoughts on “My Two Cents

  1. I also disliked the book, and the movie version with Robert Redford in it. I remember it as a movie that was pointless, about nothing. I have no desire to see this one either (although I might watch it on a plane somewhere, perhaps!). I’ve read some good reviews, mainly about the lavish look of the movie (sooo Baz Lurhmann) but I’m still not inclined to spend money seeing it.


  2. Thanks for the review – On the book and the movie. I’ve never read the book and don’t plan to. I love the director of the movie and “updating” old stories is kind of his thing – He did the 90’s “Romeo and Juliet” with Leonardo DiCaprio and “Moulin Rouge”. I think I might rent it when it comes to Redbox.


    • You might like the use of modern music in this classic period piece. I’ve met a couple of people since I’ve written the review that liked the use of hip hop in the roaring 20s theme.


  3. Can’t say I’ll be rushing to see it. We’re much more into the Scandinavian Noir which has been on our TV screens for the last couple of years. Modern American films really don’t engage me much. Occasionally we go to see a foreign film in Hawick and that can be quite fun.


    • I’d like to see more foreign films but the thought of reading sub-titles during the film scares me a bit. i’m afraid I’ll miss something when I’m trying to read the text. Am I wrong?


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