Despite the fact I studied The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald, in English Literature for about a year; I never got the opportunity to watch the 2013 movie. But, alas I finally have.
‘In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since. “Whenever you feel like critizing anyone, “just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages you’ve had.”’ This is my favourite quote from the novel and was also the opening line to the film, with Tobey Maguire, who plays Nick, saying it. The film hooked me then and there.
The film, from this beginning, continues with a very swift pace. This makes the film seem quite rushed, however, this matches the cinematic quality exhibited in Fitzgerald’s writing and therefore, I like how well The Great Gatsby 2013 has managed to stick so closely to the book. Of course, it does follow the book quite well, with entire scenes reading exactly as they do in the novel.
Although, the way in which the film was framed, through Nick’s therapy, I suppose, was not at all in the book. In the novel, Nick does write the story of Gatsby but not because he needs therapy from it. Not that this is a complaint. I actually really liked the way it was done because when Nick gets closure and is able to sleep, after being an insomniac, it gives the audience closure after such a pivotal moment in the narrative.
The characters and setting in the film were exactly as I had imagined them while reading the book. I know that other people wouldn’t be as easily pleased, but I thought it was extraordinary, as if I was watching my imagination play out in front of me. I think a part of why the characters were so good was because appropriate actors were cast. Tobey Maguire plays a perfect Nick; his style just suits how Nick was written, as does Owl Eyes’ character in the library, and Gatsby, as played by Leonardo DiCaprio. Other amazing actors in the film were: Isla Fisher, Amitabh Bachchan, Elizabeth Debicki and Joel Edgerton.
The soundtrack for this film is brilliant; I love how modern songs were made to sound like the songs of the time and just fit into the film as if they were classics from the 20s. I also like the onscreen edits with text running across the screen at specific parts of the movie; I think it just added another layer to the film.
I really enjoyed The Great Gatsby (can you tell?) and I do really recommend it. I also recommend reading the book first because Fitzgerald crafted an amazing novella, and I think that there will be a better understanding of the themes, such as decadence and hedonism, that are shown throughout, by doing this.