Saturday, May 18, 2013

The Great Gatsby: Monday, May 13 2012

The Great Gatsby is a 2013 American 3D romantic drama film. An adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's  1925 novel of the same name, the film was co-written and directed by Baz Luhrmann, and stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, Carey Mulligan, and Joel Edgerton. It follows the life and times of millionaire Jay Gatsby and his neighbor Nick, who recounts his encounter with Gatsby at the height of the Roaring Twenties.

The film has had mixed reviews, and my friends reflected that. Lois, Kathleen, Carolyn and I enjoyed the film and when it ended there was a moment of silence as everyone thought about what they had just experienced. It is a powerful movie. 3D made it even more alive, and Kathleen and Carolyn, who had never before seen an adult film in 3D, really liked it. Such a spectacle from start to finish, the director had made sure there was never a dull moment.

Set in the party time after the First World War, just before the Great Wall Street Crash of 1929, the characters seem a little shallow and we all found it difficult to relate to them. This left us with ambivalent feelings about the film. Could Leonardo DiCaprio have given Jay Gatsby a greater depth of feeling so that we could have felt some sympathy for him? Could Carey Mulligan have shown at least some regret for her betrayal of Gatsby, so that we could have shared her feelings? Did the director want his characters to seem so empty of human feelings? Our friend, Karen, didn't like the film at all, and Lois had extremely mixed feeling about it. I would say this is at the root of the mixed reviews. We needed to be encouraged to feel with and for the players, but we didn't.

It occurred to me that Jay Gatsby was spared the agony of the Wall Street Crash, and what would probably have been the loss of his fortune. The Roaring Twenties became the Depression of the Thirties, and the parties, and the world, of the Great Gatsby, became a memory.  

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