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