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[Movie Review] The Great Gatsby (2013)

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Plot Summary: A Midwestern war veteran finds himself drawn to the past and lifestyle of his millionaire neighbor.

Director: Baz Luhrmann

Writers: Baz Luhrmann and Craig Pearce (Screenplay), F. Scott Fitzgerald (novel)

Runtime: 143 min

Main Cast:
  • Leonardo DiCaprio as Jay Gatsby
  • Carey Mulligan as Daisy Buchanan
  • Tobey Maguire as Nick Carraway
  • Joel Edgerton as Tom Buchanan
  • Isla Fisher as Myrtle Wilson

Review: by Lee

The Great Gatsby is one of the most beloved American novels ever written.  So, when I heard Leonardo DiCaprio, one of the world's most revered actors, was going to portray the legendary Jay Gatsby on the big screen, I got my hopes up.  My hopes were further buffeted by the glamorous movie trailer, packed with iconic scenes from the book, live and in living color.  I was excited. Then I watched the movie.

What I liked:

The cinematography was simply stunning.  I loved how it was made to look genuinely like you were right there in the twenties.  The costumes were impeccable, and the visual effects were quite impressive.

Leonardo DiCaprio is truly gifted.  He became Gatsby to me.  The other actors weren’t bad either, but that DiCaprio… He’s so hot right now.

Finally, the modern music was actually incorporated in a way that I did not find horrendous.  I quite enjoyed the period version of “Crazy In Love” used in the scene where Gatsby has Nick invite Daisy to tea for him.

Speaking of that scene, it was everything I dreamed it would be.  I wouldn’t have changed a thing.

What I didn’t like:

This was not The Great Gatsby.  This was someone’s interpretation of The Great Gatsby.  The novel is such a work of art, a true and genuinely beautiful literary masterpiece. Whoever wrote this screenplay picked apart the novel, selecting symbolism seemingly at random to include.  Sure, it has the all-important green light and the eyes of God, Doctor T.J. Eckleburg, but the ever-watching eyes were almost glanced over along with the “money” in Daisy’s voice.  Daisy’s characterization in general seemed lacking, and George Wilson’s was virtually nonexistent.

The screenwriter clearly took some liberties with the plot. Nick was in a sanitarium.  Come on.  Nick moved back west in one of his most sane moments of the novel. Speaking of moving west, the movie completely left out the east versus west aspect of the novel.  Also, it was very heavy-handed in the comparisons of Gatsby to God.

Technically, there wasn’t much wrong with the movie.  I could have done without the 3D, but it was actually used nicely in the opening credit when moving toward the green light.

You can purchase The Great Gatsby 2013 from Amazon here:

Images Courtesy of IMDB

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