We finally got around to see The Great Gatsby. In full disclosure I was an English Lit major and suffered through Dr. Carlson's class on Fitzgerald. There are some liberties taken with the movie, a romantic relationship here and there never developed, an asylum and therapy sessions added in, and the timing of a few key conversations moved
around. But, then who said Fitzgerald was truly wedded to what he thought was his master piece any how? Bottom line, somehow the movie was not exactly like I remember the book but then again that was 35 years ago. But, I digress.
Reviews by the critics were mixed at best. Some said there was too much razzle-dazzle but then again it was the roaring 20s. What would you expect? Some complained that the screen play played fast and loose with the story. Hey, it's not like everyone did not have to read it some time along the way in at least one English class. The movie did stray here and there but overall it followed Fitzgerald's story line.
Leonardo DiCaprio played an excellent Gatsby. Carey Mulligan slipped into the role of a pampered incredibly beautiful Daisy torn between her emotions and security, like one of the sleek silk flapper dresses she wore so well. Tobey Maguire would not be my first choice for Nick Caraway. (Although, he played the part well.) I think you need somebody stronger as Nick to stand up to DiCaprio's determined Fitzgerald.
Joel Edgerton, playing the part of Tom Buchanan, had the best line in the film: "I'd prefer not to be the polo player". And, yes, you can have a soundtrack by Jay Z in a film about the roaring 20's and pull it off. Stranger things happened during that era. The costumes were divine, the scenery beautiful, and story flowed well, even if it were slow in places during the 143 minutes we were a captive audience.
And, yes Dr. Carlson, I did note Dr. T. J. Eckleburg's spectacles peering down every time they went through the the Valley of Ashes. That billboard haunts me still today.