Friday, May 10, 2013

Movie review: The Great Gatsby

So last night, my friends Chasity, Kate and Kate's friend Jessica all went to see the premiere of The Great Gatsby. The theatre (the Drexel in Bexley, for you locals) did a little party before the 10 pm show, and encouraged everyone to dress up. We were some of the few who did, besides the swing dancers brought in as entertainment, but there were 20s-cocktails, so who cares, right?

It was a cute little party, mostly because I love any reason to play dress-up. And the movie? So. Good. So I'll do the main, spoiler-free review first, for the heathens folks who didn't read the book. Then some pictures (iPhone in low-light quality, unfortunately) and then some mild spoilers for anyone who's read the book and just wants to know how the movie compares.

So we saw the movie in 2D. Maybe it's just me, but I think watching a movie based on a literary classic (and one of my favorites, no less) in 3D is a little gimmicky. Anyway.

Overall, I thought it was extremely well-done. Hollywood adaptations tend to leave me feeling disappointed, but not this one. Baz Luhrmann reused a few storytelling techniques from Moulin Rouge (namely, the narrative framing device) to great effect, even though they weren't in the original novel.

Visually, it was pretty stunning. The use of dramatic, vibrant color worked really well with the movie's/novel's overall themes. The soundtrack, while anachronistic, wasn't entirely incongruous with the movie's feel. The rendition of "Crazy In Love" was particularly effective, I thought. If you're one of those who is going to get really annoyed with the modern-day music in this film, just try to focus on the dialogue and the visuals. The music is by no means overpowering.

The movie hit all of the novel's main plot points, and despite the 2+ hour runtime, it seemed to move at an almost breakneck speed. There were a few good laughs, mostly thanks to Leonardo DiCaprio's adorably awkward interpretation of Gatsby's infatuation with Daisy. My biggest complaint is the casting of Tobey Maguire as Nick Carraway; I think he didn't really fill the character's shoes, not in the way DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan (Daisy Buchanan) did. Though disclaimer: I really, really can't stand Maguire. He drives me crazy. So I might be biased. I was a bit surprised to see Isla Fisher as Myrtle, but she did quite well. Elizabeth Debicki (Jordan Baker), Joel Edgerton (Tom Buchanan) and Jason Clarke (George Wilson) all were well-cast, too.

As a book-to-film purist, I can honestly say that I wasn't disappointed. It's a good film, it's an interesting adaptation, and I would definitely, absolutely see it again.


The Great Gatsby premiere night
I got a little distracted, so this is the best shot of the headband I made. I just hot-glued some gems and feathers from Michael's onto a thinner workout headband from Target. Took like five minutes, haha!

The Great Gatsby premiere night
They had an authentic 20s coupe parked out front!

Getting into this was not easy.

Told you. It gives you banshee-jaw. Not to mention major crotch-flash risk.


Dance club dancin'

PBR = classy ladies.

You guys. They had candy cigarettes.

Ok. Picture time over. Don't read any further than this unless you're prepared for some mild spoilers!

There were a few plot deviations, but I feel that they didn't distract too much from the work itself. They weren't changes made for the sake of change. And there weren't too many cut scenes; to be honest, I can't really remember any specific cuts, but I haven't read the book in a year or two.

The main change was that in the beginning of the movie, Nick is talking to a psychiatrist in a sanatorium. He's talking about Gatsby, and his summer in New York, but can't bring himself to discuss it. The camera pans over his medical file, and we he's been diagnosed with "morbid alcoholism," if I remember the phrase right, not to mention depression, anxiety and a slew of other ailments. So the doctor tells Nick to write his story if he can't talk about it.

The rest of the movie is Nick writing the story, first by hand and then on a typewriter. He narrates as he's writing and at times the words are superimposed over the scenes as they happen, to an interesting effect. When the movie ends, he's finished the book. The ;ast scene is him typing the cover page, "Gatsby by Nick Carraway." He then goes back with a pen and writes "The Great" before "Gatsby."


  1. This was so great! I want to see it so badly - I've gotta make plans for one night this week!

  2. You beat me to it! I plan to go tomorrow. The dressing up aspect is great. You guys look terrific and it sounds like fun was had. I'm a big Baz fan and have seen all of his movies. He made Romeo+Juliet exciting even using Shakespeare's words verbatim. (Leonardo was in that one, too.)

  3. omg this looks AHMAZZING!! So much fun! Blerg I know I'll be stuck with a boring old "cheap tuesday" viewing. Alas.


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