The Great Gatsby: You can't repeat the past...

4:03:00 PM




The film The Great Gatsby was a wonderful sparkling adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgeralds' novel. Baz Luhrmanns' version of the beloved story wasn't received by critics well, but when David Danby from The New Yorker asks the question if young audiences will be attracted to it, the answer seems obvious to most of us. Yes. Even if you're not a fan of the Luhrmann vision, no one loves their favorite novels any less than when they're brought to life by the big screen.



In the seventies version Gatsby is played by Robert Redford who, although dashing and solidly built, falls short of what the true version in some of our memories from the actual text would convey: strong, hopeful, handsome, controlled. DiCaprio does a pristine job of embodying Mr. Jay Gatsby by making him the strong, hopeful, handsome and interested man we love at the beginning. But, Gatsby in pursuit of the love of his life misses the mark on manly qualities that we desire and need in a man. None of the things or traits he acquired would be for his own possession, but for the emphasis and ornamentation of the delicate Daisy. The name is properly given to Daisy, as she is a, "beautiful little fool". Gatsby falls apart as the novel and the film progress and loses Daisy as he loses himself.


The attributes that he conveys are repugnant to a point. Gatsby however makes himself desirable in other ways as women will admit when they drool over the Edward Cullen love equivalent of a borderline creepy lover. You know what I mean, a man who is all about you, that falls on every word and loves you fiercely. Of course, no one wants this sort of emotional attachment to someone they don't equally admire. When Daisy is as much in love with Gatsby as he is with her, it's appealing that he realizes his dreams in pursuit of her and perches his humble abode directly across the channel of her husbands green lit dock.


Every woman wants a man who is strong, in every sense of the word, that sticks to his principles and gives the world the impression that he is like an immovable boulder in every aspect of what he believes and values--not budging for anyone or anything. The fierceness with which he pushes through life and protects his character and scruples, she wishes and dares her to love him. Gatsby is unattainable and is never seeking others for company, they seek him out. For Daisy, "he looked at her the way every woman wants to be looked at" says Jordan Baker, and that he does well and, "she blossomed for him like a flower".



We are taken driven through the story, in the novel and in the film by dear Mr. Nick Carraway who leers upon Gatsby and Daisy's interludes like a voyeur. The fact that Mr. Carraway is reported as the guide, writer of the story and more makes us put trust in him that in the novel we're not so sure we should. In the novel, Carraway is not to be trusted and every word is to be taken with a grain of salt. But nevertheless we side with Nick, care for him and become as attached to the succession of Gatsby in every way as he has.


All of this drama accompanied by a fierce soundtrack produced by Jay-Z, who although hits the nail no the head with what the young audience wants to hear, takes away from the jazz age soundtrack that some of us were desperately hoping for. There's a little too much hip hop and not enough actual roaring twenties Jazz. In fact, the lyrics got me looking so crazy right now, made me feel that way after the thousandth time they played themselves throughout the film. I would personally rather be haunted by the music more so than be spoon fed by it. There were some tracks that resonated well with certain scenes such as the Lana Del Rae track "Young and Beautiful". It gave just a touch of what women were all for and for some, still are now--beautiful little fools. Will I still buy the soundtrack, of course. But for all that the twenties had to offer I expected more sampling from actual music from the era.



The romance is the jewel deep inside of this twisted and reckless relationship that the  
Jazz Age is all about on it's own. But, does the film do it's job in capturing all of the other aspects of what the books essence truly is? Possibly not, but what it does capture (as film was intended to) is the plucking of our souls from this point in time, to an artistically rendered form of the past, that although we cannot repeat, we can enjoy (be entertained) and see through the rose colored glasses of our own era with wonder.

If you saw it, what did you think?

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