142 minutes of visual, auditory, and literary-to-live-action bliss
I’ve read other reviews that were not so complimentary to Baz Luhrmann’s adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerlad’s The Great Gatsby, so my guards were down and my expectations even lower. I am a true fan of Lurhmann’s Romeo and Juliet with the same leading man, but I also consider that when the film debuted, I was a hormonal, lovesick teenager who would swoon at a broomstick if it fell in my direction.
Needless to say, I would have seen The Great Gatsby no matter what because:
A.) It’s a film adaptation of a novel that I love and appreciate
B.) There was a field trip already planned, so it was easy enough to join in.
C.) Ummm, it’s Leo, so yea.
Here are some of the gripes that other people have had about the film:
1. The modern music juxtaposed with the 1920s era
2. “It was too shiny”
3. Too slow-moving
Here’s what I have to say about the grips that other people have had about the film:
What I liked:
- The acting was phenomenal.
Some people have criticized DiCaprio and said that he has been too emotional or over-the-top in his acting, yet I cannot get enough. I felt that he, and the other actors, were able to embrace the essence of Fitzgerald’s characters, and didn’t try too hard to add their own spin. Carey Mulligan was a wonderful choice to play Daisy Buchanan; she was likeable as the story unfolded, and as we gained insight into her past, her charm, the audience was able to see why Gatsby would love such a woman so completely, yet be blinded by her inner character. Joel Edgerton, who portrayed Tom Buchanan was able to execute an unimaginable brute that married Daisy and kept a dozen or more women as distractions from his husbandly vows. I am not so much a Tobey McGuire fan, but he did a well enough job that I didn’t dislike Nick Carraway.
- The essence of the novel rang true
Many times when a book is turned into a film, readers’ hearts break. So much can be lost in the conversion due to limited time, cinematic capabilities, and the in-tangibleness that can only be expressed in word. However, the Luhrmann was able to include so many of the novel’s symbols and atmosphere that the audience did not miss any of it. It was not overly obvious or “insisting upon itself,” but there was enough done by the part of the director, actors, and other film-making roles that I don’t know about that the anxiety, tension, joy, desperation, and hope was not cartoonish or missed.
- The right balance of modern and traditional
I was never distracted by hearing Jay Z, Beyonce, Florence + The Machine, or will.i.am. I enjoyed how the glamor of Gatsby’s parties, the excess of the life of the 20s was portrayed. The balance was handled well.
Overall, I loved this film and appreciate its sincerity. I would rate this as 4.5 out of 5 stars, and with that review I am off to reread the novel.