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movie: The Great Gatsby (2013)

Well, we finally got around to it! Sadly, my friend Justin and I missed this one in theaters; I think it would have been oustanding on the big screen, but Justin has a large-ish screen at home too, so we did okay.

My first comment on this movie is that it is wildly visually pleasing, and impressive, and extravagant – much like the Roaring 20’s.

photo credit (click to enlarge)

photo credit
(click to enlarge)


The spirit of Gatsby’s parties, the lavish lifestyle, is well evoked. Actually, I am impressed with the faithfulness to the book in story, too; it’s been years since I’ve read it, so I may be missing the minor details, but the feel was right. Perfectly rendered are the beautiful women in outrageous costumes, with a tendency to turn their heads just so to catch their lovely profiles; Gatsby’s larger-than-life personality and biography, and his arresting discomfort in the shadow of Daisy’s presence; and Nick’s own retiring persona. There is a framing element added to the movie that was not present in the book; it’s a little unsettling for us book-purists, but minimally so, and I think I can understand how it felt necessary, to explain Nick’s narration.

And oh, did I mention the visual appeal? The women, the clothing, and the outrageous parties – not to mention Leonardo DiCaprio himself as Gatsby – are positively eye candy. Leo is at his best, exhibiting the boyish, almost childlike charm we knew him for in earlier years (singularly in the scene involving the shirts – “they’re such beautiful shirts”), an older man’s brooding, and all the rest of his handsome faces. It was easy to get lost in some of the scenes and scenery. The film is clearly color-enhanced; I’m no expert and can’t explain this, but the color is clearly doctored. This adds to a fairy-tale-like feeling throughout, which is not faithful to the book, but somehow works. In this different medium, the larger-than-life effect feels like the proper analogy to Fitzgerald’s book. Towards the sad ending, the movie transitions to the disaffected tone of the book with perhaps some abruptness. But really, it’s a damn fine job – and gorgeous.


Rating: 8 beads.

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