I did say that I loved this movie so much that I would most likely blog about it (my poor little blog has been so neglected this year, I feel quite bad). But onto nicer topics, such as Baz Luhrmann’s triumphant return to mainstream movie making
I was expecting a lot from this film. I love Baz Luhrmann and the thought of him teaming up with Leonardo DiCaprio again (especially now that his acting abilities are reaching critical mass) – let’s just say that my head was ready to explode. And to top it all off, I love the book! It’s not my normal thing (I’m definitely more of an epic, sweeping fantasy novel reader), but there’s something about The Great Gatsby that I just get – or it gets me, one of the two.
I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t nervous about seeing the film and whether or not my hopes would be dashed (Baz, Moulin Rouge and Leo are in my top 10 things that I love about cinema, along with Lord of the Rings, Pulp Fiction and Maggie Smith). Throughout the day on Sunday, before going to see The Great Gatsby, I had several moments of panic – what if this film doesn’t live up to my massive expectations??? Could I go on believing in the magic of cinema and movie making if it didn’t??? These were both very serious questions to me, and a hell of a lot was riding on this film blowing me away.
Thank the movie gods, it did that and more
Baz (yes, we’re on a first name basis in my head ) stuck to the story and kept in all of the most important elements that stand out from the book to me (haven’t read it in a few years, so I am going on memory a bit here). He also chose his actors very carefully – they all actually epitomised the people I envisioned while reading the book. Carey Mulligan even made Daisy a real human being, so real in fact that I didn’t want to slap her for being annoying and useless (I have issues with women in movies that are unable to make decisions and are generally useless – I usually want to slap them very hard). Mulligan’s Daisy was everything she should have been from the book – someone who is flighty and cries a lot – but she still made her substantial.
And then, of course, there is Leonardo DiCaprio How do I love thee? Let me count the ways! I’m actually not sure how this man has not won an Oscar yet. He must have pissed someone off at the Academy, because he should’ve been nominated for a lot more than just 3 Oscars, and should’ve won some of those to boot! In my mind, no one else could play the man described by the narrator, Nick Carraway, as such:
“He had one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it, that you may come across four or five times in life. It faced, or seemed to face, the whole external world for an instant and then concentrated on you with an irresistible prejudice in your favor. It understood you just as far as you wanted to be understood, believed in you as you would like to believe in yourself.”
~ Chapter 3, The Great Gatsby
And now enough gushing about Leo, and onto the look and feel of the film. Well, the attention to detail in it was special – something the lovely Baz is so good at. He creates a spectacle that fills your senses, but nothing feels like too much or out of place – not even the modern music that has been only slightly adapted to fit the time period of the film. It’s a feast for the eyes and ears, although more toned down than the fantastic Moulin Rouge. I really enjoyed seeing those elaborate, massive parties that Gatsby threw come to life. They were filled with beautiful people, glitter, streamers, champagne and an abundance of opulence.
However, my favourite scene was when Carraway arrives at the Buchanan residence and we meet Daisy for the first time. She is in this beautiful, light-filled room that has several doors open to the outside and the soft, white curtains hanging from these doors are being blown around so that you can’t really see her. You just get this feeling that a mystical creature is hiding in the light fabric, toying with you – and then she appears as a human being when her husband brutishly calls for the doors to be shut. I remember being mesmorised by that vision when reading the book, and those feelings were captured so well.
This movie has made me very happy. I want to go see it again, because I know there are a host of nuances that I missed (I’m still picking up new things in Moulin Rouge after seeing it about 50 times).
You should go see The Great Gatsby. You really should.