Sunday, May 12, 2013

The Greatest Love Of All (Movie Review: The Great Gatsby)

Going into Baz Luhrman's "The Great Gatsby," I was uncertain about how I would feel. I know it is getting polarizing responses, and I have some investment in it because I love the F. Scott Fitzgerald book. This movie isn't the best interpretation of it, and I don't think there will be a great one in my lifetime, but as a movie, Baz Luhrman's take is a very engaging and entertaining one. What comes out in the movie is the book. It was weird to revisit the story now, a an older adult - the themes still resonate, even more so. Age, maturity, and experience make one appreciate the classic story of Jay Gatsby and his longings, his life, his greatest love. Ultimately, the book is a story of the greatest love, and for me, anyway, Luhrman was able to capture that. There are a lot of imperfections in the movie: Carey Mulligan's Daisy is a bit dowdy, and she doesn't seem to have the beauty, grace, and breeding that Gatsby was so obsessed with. Still, DiCaprio gives a winning performance, injecting the character with a lot of charm that you root for him, and mourn his downfall. But I was also very taken by Tobey Maguire's Nick Carraway, which the heart of this movie. I think his personal friendship with DiCaprio gave their characters an electric chemistry. I would even say the relationship bordered on homo-erotic, giving the movie an unexpected layer to peel. The parties are extravagant visual marvels, and beautifully captured, and  the 3D expeirnce even heightens it. I especially liked the feeling of being in Times Square in the 20s. This is still a Luhrman production, after all, and so the garishness is there. I didn't mind, not even the mixture of hip hop scoring by Jay-Z. The segue from Gershwin to Lana Del Ray was seamless, oddly. I hope this movie finds it audience - it's out there somewhere.


  1. Good review Luha. The novel will probably forever, and always will be considered unfilmable, no matter how hard this movie tries to make it work.

  2. Thanks, I do agree that the book is ultimately unfilmmable.