Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Great Gatsby Movie: Outrageous, Stunning, Entertaining -- and Long

Ever since I saw the movie trailer for “The Great Gatsby” a few months ago, I’ve been looking forward to the movie’s release. Fitzgerald's book is an American classic, still taught in schools. In fact, last year my granddaughter read it as part of a English Literature class, and I re-read it too.

I vaguely remember watching the 1970s movie version with Robert Redford and Mia Farrow, so I wasn’t sure what to expect with this latest remake.

My three words to describe the 2013 version of "The Great Gatsby" are: outrageous, stunning and entertaining.
If I had to add three more, they would be: a bit long.

The music is an odd mix of Jazz and hip-hop, which surprisingly fits with the grab-on-to-the-latest-fad mood of the era. The over-the-top party scenes convey the manic nature of Gatsby and the outrageous time in America’s history.

The stunning visual effects recapture the era of the 1920s. The architecture and set decorations of the Buchanan and Gatsby mansions are vivid and lovely; a stark contrast to the poor working-class New York neighborhoods. The car scenes and dance scenes are dizzying. But I love the Flapper and Jazz-Age costumes and suspect there might be a revival of the 1920s style of dress in fashion circles.

Leonardo DiCaprio is dashing and quite convincing as Jay Gatsby, mixing an aura of mystery with a need for acceptance and love. At times, however, his attire brought to mind commercials for Ralph Lauren and Channel No. 5. Maybe that was the intent.
While I wondered why an American actor couldn’t be cast for the role of Daisy Buchanan, Carey Mulligan did not disappoint. Her combination of doe-eyed admiration and wild-eyed mania brings her character to life. Toby Maguire, playing the role of Daisy's cousin, the alcoholic and impressionable Nick Carraway, has outgrown his Spiderman persona.

While “The Great Gatsby” is entertaining, at almost two and one-half hours long, I found myself wondering when it would end—although that could’ve been because I drank a large beverage during the movie and the water scene at the end made me want to rush out and use the restroom.  
I was glad that I stayed to watch the final scene and hear the memorable last line of Fitzgerald’s acclaimed novel, "So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past."
One measure of a movie’s entertainment value is if I would pay to see it again.
The answer is: Yes, I would.


  1. Donna--Thanks. I have seen the trailers, and wondered what the movie was like.

    Now I know. I know I should head to the theater and see it. I also know I should go to the bathroom before the movie begins, AND I should say no to a soda until after the movie is over.

    Bring some sand back for Linda O'Connell...

  2. Hi Sioux,
    You are most welcome.

    I'll probably be bringing lots of sand back with me.

    Speaking of you and Linda, I mentioned you both, along with a few other local writers on the Coffee and Critique blog today.


  3. Great critique, Donna. Thanks! I'll tell my husband everything except that it's too long. LOL


  4. Glad you got your money's worth. Still not sure I want to see this version though. Actually, since it is pouring rain here and we are under tornado watch, maybe I should pop in the Redford version for a retake for right now!

  5. Hi Lisa,
    Hope you enjoy it. I always worry that after I suggest a movie or a book someone will hate it and say, "What was she thinking?"

    Hi Claudia,
    Oh, no. Tornado watch!
    That usually means bad weather is heading our way. It rained earlier today, and spotty storms are predicted.

  6. Yep, I think I've got to go see this one. Thanks for the review, Donna!

    Critter Alley

  7. Hi Pat,
    You are welcome. I hope you enjoy the movie!

  8. Such a classic story--but I have to say, I'm not much of a DiCaprio fan. I liked him when he was a kid (like in "What's Eating Gilbert Grape?)but all grown up--not so much.

    Your review makes me want to read it again, though. ;-)


Mysteries of the Ozarks, Volume V - Interviews with Lonnie Whitaker and Dr. Barri Bumgarner

Here is the second installment of interviews with contributors who have stories in Mysteries of the Ozarks, Volume V , from Ozark Writers, I...