Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Gatsby - Great Or Not

For my birthday the Mister wanted to take me out to see a movie of my choice at the theater.  This is a rare treat for us, we usually just wait for things to come out on dvd.  Normally I would have chosen something action packed because I know we both enjoy that type of movie and I have to admit that I leaned heavily towards watching Iron Man 3, but, instead, I decided on The Great Gatsby.

The Great Gatsby

Unlike so many of you, I have never read the book.  I just never got around to reading it.  Plus, I haven't ever seen any of the prior movie versions.  So, going in to see the movie, I had no preconceived notion of how things were supposed to happen or really even what the story was about.  I was just there for the fashion, the glitz and glam, - oh and Leonardo DiCaprio.  There, I admit it.

Gatsby did not disappoint me on all of those points.  The visuals in this film are fantastic.  There are glorious colors and elaborate costumes and the sets are art deco masterpieces.  Here, let me say that I am not versed in all things 1920s so I have no idea if the costumes and sets were historically accurate, I just know that they were stunningly beautiful.  And, Leonardo was superb in his role as Jay Gatsby showing both vulnerability and strength. 

Carey Mulligan and Leonardo DiCaprio

The film did, however, disappoint me in several other areas.   The fact that it is in 3D is my biggest gripe.  I always get a headache watching 3D movies, and with some of the camera angles and movements, there's lots of sweeping, swirling motions in this film, made that so much worse for me.

Having not ever read the book, I’m not sure how the story should have gone, but the storyline in the film fell a little flat for me.  I get that Gatsby started with nothing and climbed his way into money any way he could to win back the love of Daisy.  What I didn't get from watching the film, is why?  I mean, they tell you why, obviously, but it doesn't feel all that believable to me because, to me, Carey Mulligan’s performance as Daisy kind of gets lost in the over the top visuals.

Another thing I wasn't crazy about was the soundtrack.  I understand why the director chose modern music – lots of Beyonce and JayZ  – but I would have preferred more authentic 20s jazz, although, the Mister liked the more modern music.

Leonardo DiCaprio as Jay Gatsby

Overall, I liked the film.  I believe it is visually stunning, full of glitz and glamour, and on that end alone would recommend seeing it.  But for me, it is more style over substance.


  1. I don't think I'll make it to see it at the theaters but I'm excited to see it on DVD. It's interesting that they even put this movie in 3D. I'm with you about the soundtrack, I think they should have stuck more to the classics but I guess they wanted to appeal to a wide audience.

    1. Seems like every other movie that is released these days is in 3D. I would have much preferred this one without it but I have to admit that it added some great dimensions to that fabulous set.

  2. Ive never seen any of the movies and the last time I read it was back in high school. I honestly don't remember if I liked it or not. I wanted to see this movie simply because of the director also directed Moulin Rougue (one of my favorite movies). I love the modern music mixed with the beautiful scenery.

  3. Tony recently saw it and came home talking it up with the most glowing of praise (he's a great movie critic, IMO, and said it was one of his all-time favourite films. He loved it so much actually, that he took my parents to see it a few days later, and so wants me to go, but I don't think I'll have recouped enough to be able to sit in a theater for that long while it's still playing on the big screen. If not, I know we'll see it the moment it hits DVD - Tony is so eager for me to watch it, which I think is really sweet.

    I read the book and saw the 70s version eons ago, so it will be thoroughly interesting to see how this latest rendition stacks up by comparison.

    ♥ Jessica

  4. Thank you for the review mama. I think I may be going to see it next week. I havent rd the bk either but hope to one day. The 70s version rocks of course bc Robert Redford rocks. The author did mention that he didnt flesh out the character of Gatsby very much so I can only imagine how difficult it would be for a film maker to create a character that isn't fully complete...kwim? I do want to rd the bk though-a friend told me its amazing!! xox

    1. Me too, it has been on my "to read" list for quite some time, but I keep putting others in front of it. Maybe this summer I will finally get it read.

  5. I won't be seeing this in theaters, don't have the time for it at the moment. I think I'll be pretty disappointed even if the costuming is outstanding. I don't really like Beyonce and I have no idea who Jay-Z is...


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