The Great Gatsby Movie Review

By Julia DeRogatis

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By Julia DeRogatis | Staff Writer

May 17, 2013

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s iconic story, “The Great Gatsby”, was recently made into a film, directed by Baz Luhrmanna and premiered on Friday, May 10.

Readers of “The Great Gatsby” know the poignancy and beauty of Fitzgerald’s writing. The true impact of Gatsby comes not from the plot line, but from the richness of the writing and the symbols and themes interwoven throughout the novel.

Without the impact of Fitzgerald’s writing, many were dubious as to how effective the movie would be. However, after seeing it on opening night amid both my fellow English peers and other Gatsby enthusiasts, I am able to say that the movie was great.

Leonardo DiCaprio as Jay Gatsby

Sitting in a dim theater, watching Gatsby’s story painted across the screen was surreal. As the director of previous films like “Romeo and Juliet”, and “Moulin Rouge!”, Baz Luhrmann, made Gatsby’s mansion flare brighter than the sun, he made the skies rain glitter, and he made Leonardo DiCaprio’s smile explode in fireworks.

Throughout the movie there was so much color and fantasy that it seemed to transcend time, space, and reality. It was impossible not to get caught up in the passionate fire of the film, whether the screen was filled with the dancers of Gatsby’s party, or was burned in the depths of his eyes during the climax, the fire was always there; a constant undercurrent of burning and yearning.

The visuals weren’t the only surreal aspect either. The soundtrack blended the bass and techno of the twenty first century with some of the old jazz music of the twentieth century, creating a eerie and timeless sound. Florence and the Machine and Lana Del Ray both contributed haunting ballads, capturing the futility and danger of Gatsby’s story through their lyrics and voices.

Leonardo DiCaprio was wonderful. He captured the hopeful and surprisingly innocent and vulnerable nature of Gatsby’s character flawlessly, leaving the heart aching for him and his losses.

Tobey Maguire as Nick Carraway

Tobey Maguire also delivered a impressive performance, playing the perfect  narrator as he voiced poignant lines from the novel and acted as a gateway between the audience and Gatsby and Daisy (Carey Mulligan)’s upper class worlds.

Overall, the movie stayed very close to the book. The majority of the lines and scenes, along with many themes and symbols, were pulled directly from the novel and layered throughout the movie.

Although the majority of critics gave the movie harsh reviews, I fully encourage everyone to see it. I was pleasantly surprised to find that upon watching the film, Gatsby’s story reached new emotional depths for me.

The essence of the book coupled with the vibrancy of the movie succeeded made for a resonating retelling of this cherished 1920’s classic, that, like Gatsby’s past, will stay with the viewer long after the last credit has rolled.

“The Great Gatsby” is rated PG-13 and is now playing in theaters.

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