What makes a good movie? Surely it’s not the smell of warm buttery popcorn, or the sound of sodas and Ice being slurped in the audience. Of course, having warm buttery popcorn or an ice cold drink never hurts. A good movie is one in which you can allow yourself to get lost in. There are many books that have been recreated into movies. These recreations often times have different messages, twists, and plots. Directors also tend to add their own personality or ideas into the movie. Often times these movies are disappointments to fans of the novels because of how different they are. Movies typically don’t follow along correctly with the novel, characters change, or endings change. It is a rarity when a book is recreated into an exceptional movie.
The Great Gatsby, written by F. Scott Fitzgerald, is a tale of love, greed, and the American dream during the Roaring Twenties. Jay Gatsby and Daisy Buchanan were two lovers separated by war, but their love finds each other again after five long years apart. Both Gatsby’s and Daisy’s lives have changed dramatically over the five years they were apart. Gatsby become a very successful and rich man, while Daisy got married and had a daughter with her husband Tom Buchanan. Upon meeting his new neighbor, Nick Carraway, Gatsby learns that Nick is a cousin of Daisy’s. Together they create a plan for Gatsby and Daisy to meet once again. After spending a day together, it is clear that the flame between Gatsby and Daisy did not vanish, but simply dimmed.
The characters of the novel were accurately represented in the movie through an outstanding selection of cast members. Leonardo DiCaprio, a charming man himself, plays the rich and charming Jay Gatsby. DiCaprio’s strong personality and dazzling presence goes hand in hand with Jay Gatsby’s character. Carey Mulligan shows her sweetness and innocence through her character as Daisy Buchanan. The chemistry between Gatsby and Daisy in the movie is exquisite. You can see their love for each other through their eyes, body language, and the way they talk with each other. This is the chemistry between the actors themselves as well as the story line. If the director were to cast individuals without this chemistry, it would be obvious in the movie itself.
The director of The Great Gatsby made the movie as dazzling as F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote the book. Fitzgerald described the twenties to be full of parties, alcohol, and the hopefulness to achieve the American dream. Fitzgerald was careful to be descriptive while writing the book. The scenes in the movie were what one might imagine whilst reading the novel. The parties were extravagant, and the time frame was accurate. Although the time frame of both the novel and movie was the Roaring Twenties, director Baz Luhrmann added a creative twist to the movie. This modern twist was created through the soundtrack used.
The music played during the movie were from today’s time period rather than the twenties. Some find this disappointing, but personally the soundtrack went along perfectly with the movie. One song, “Young and Beautiful” by Lana Del Rey reoccurred many times throughout the movie. The song is about someone who is terrified that her lover will no longer love her when she is not young and beautiful anymore. The song lyrics are very deep and touching, and they fit Gatsby and Daisy’s love perfectly.
As in most love stories, there is heartbreak. The heartbreak experienced and shown in The Great Gatsby is a heartbreak that can be relatable to some. No, not everyone has a rich millionaire swooning for him or her. There is love that is not possible, love that is fought for and chased after desperately, but cannot be grasped. It is this kind of love that is most heart-breaking. Jay Gatsby’s love for Daisy is a love that gives you chills and makes the hair on your neck stand up. Baz Luhrmann accurately captures Gatsby’s love for Daisy.
Although at times Luhrmann’s recreation seems elaborate and over the top, he was simply trying to capture F. Scott Fitzgerald’s spirit. Many people did not like Luhrmann’s version of The Great Gatsby because of its modern twist and the obvious attempts to grab a younger audience. Luhrmann was simply trying to connect to the audience, who is obviously quite modern. It is no longer the twenties so it only makes sense that the film has a modern twist. There are other mixed reviews about the way Luhrmann directed the movie. The Great Gatsby premiered in a regular format as well as a three-dimensional version. For some that saw The Great Gatsby in 3D, they felt overwhelmed at the speed and dizziness of camera movement. Luhrmann purposefully shot the movie this way in order to show the craziness and excitement the twenties held.
There are many different parts of The Great Gatsby that make it such an excellent movie. Whether it be the entertainment value or how well it went along with the novel, the film was a fantastic film. However, the ending of the film is slightly different than the ending in the novel. This difference makes Gatsby’s love for Daisy haunting. Gatsby dies thinking that Daisy is calling and telling him she is going to leave Tom, which is not true in the novel. A film and a novel it is based off of can never be exactly the same. There are always differences whether it be in plot, character choices, scenes, as well as other things.
The Great Gatsby, as a film, is just as entertaining and exciting as the novel F. Scott Fitzgerald intended it to be. I highly recommend reading the novel prior to seeing the movie. Allow yourself to interpret the novel and the movie for yourself. It is all about your personal experience with the novel and/or book. Everyone will perceive both the novel and the film differently; it is all about our own personal experience.