Two elements conspire to tempt me to watch this film. Exhibit A is the gorgeous trailer and secondly, its costume design. Throw in a few of the film’s production images, and those elements combine to ensure I’d see this modernized re-telling of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic.
The Great Gatsby (2013) Film Review
1930s America brings with it an entirely new way of living, especially for the wealthy. The bans on alcohol shift, Wall Street wants to lure the bright and ambitious, and motorcars are normal rather than exception.
Young Nick Caraway (Tobey McGuire) is one of those who cannot resist the lure of the lifestyle. A northwester full of promise, he settles into his first home and works as a stock, all while hoping to be a writer. Among this society, there’s one man everyone buzzes about; a man who happens to be Nick’s neighbor, Jay Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio). Though he’s not met him, Nick receives an exclusive invitation.
Gatsby’s elaborate parties are the stuff of legends. Where does his money come from? Who is Gatsby really? Nick’s fascination of the rumors is soon gone when Gatsby befriends Nick and in turn, Nick begins to see the world through the charming persona of Jay Gatsby. What Nick doesn’t know is that his married cousin Daisy Buchanan (Carey Mulligan) is tangled in the past of his dashing friend.
Stories that have no light or hope at the end are hard for me to swallow. There is often truth in their message, but that doesn’t mean I can respect it. This applies to The Great Gatsby (2013). Since I’ve not seen any prior version, I cannot make comparisons, however judging the re-make, I have to say that not unlike its protagonists, the film leaves me feeling far too empty. At its harshest, this script is a prime example of what it looks like when human beings allow trappings to sway their decisions and check their moral compass at the door.‘THE GREAT GATSBY’ (2013) #FWarchives #PeriodDrama Click To Tweet
Those of you who have read the novel will likely disagree, but this is one of the unhealthiest depictions of love and human behavior I’ve seen. There is no warmth or genuine feeling in any relationship with exception to perhaps Nick’s loyal friendship. First we learn about a philandering husband and his equally very-married mistress. Before long there’s an allowance to facilitate another extra-marital affair and through it all, the two people who are supposedly madly in love really don’t seem to be. (Therefore, rooting for them, even in their bad behavior, is a moot point.)
Though this makes us look underneath the surface, it excuses nothing. I remain unconvinced that Gatsby’s love for Daisy is “good,” it falls into obsessive. As for Daisy, her life may have been miserable (by no fault of her own), but in the end, she didn’t stand up for what was right. The film is a sad, beautiful kind of tragedy and even though it does admittedly have some good to say, I am not sure that makes up for its chaotic depression.
Contemporary is a word that applies to this 20s era piece of candy; like the music being overpowering. Adding to this, the film is way too chaotic. There’s too much going on in too short a period of time and it’s hard to keep up with the pace – plus it doesn’t help that this clocks in well over two hours, making the film drag on in a few spots. One of the most brilliant things is the character introductions! Oh, my! I love Gatsby and Daisy’s first appearances. Both sum up so much about the character. In particular, Daisy’s first scene has a touch of whimsy and is staged gorgeously. This leads directly to the costuming, which is also a lovely thing to behold. Carey wears each of her confections quite well, though none are prettier than the “hotel room” scene.
In the end, I cannot recommend this for a host of reasons that mean something to me. Do I regret seeing it? No, but I also don’t see myself rewatching this one. Baz Luhrmann (Australia) does a spectacular job making this story… unique. His attention to detail and the scope of the film proves that he has a great eye for the “epic,” and I admire that. I don’t admire the story nor what Fitzgerald did to these characters. Perhaps, the good is that The Great Gatsby is a lesson in how not to live.
The question is how many of us will recognize this?
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You can find The Great Gatsby (2013) digitally on Amazon Video
CONTENT: There is one scene of lovemaking [some movement under the appropriately placed sheets] and a secondary scene of
moaning behind a closed door while Nick sits in the parlor – what follows are a group of people partying, stripping off clothes and drinking themselves into a stupor. Various other scenes depict drinking [in excess!] and there is some profanity. Innuendoes imply various extra-marital affairs. A woman is hit by a car with a bloody after shot of her as well as the impact – another character
is shot and yet another commits suicide [we see the gun in their mouth and hear the shot]. The film rates PG13.