What an appropriate movie to review for this blog!!!! …at least it would be if I remembered anything about the book from “reading it” in high school other than that I didn’t like it and there was a green light that was important. This has plagued me for a while because this is literally my dad’s FAVORITE book and I respect him more than anyone else in the world, so like, ??? what’s going on there. Yeah but I remember thinking it was boring and the prose was plain and the story thin.
Fast forward to like 7 years later (omg i’m so old!!!! lol high school!!!) when they make a movie out of it and substitute Hip Hop for Jazz. Clearly I’m all about that, and Leonardo DiCaprio has never made a bad choice as an actor in his life so I went to go see it. Carey Mulligan is a good actress but there’s something about her i don’t like- I think it’s because she seems so weak and frail all the time, I want a female protagonist who I can look up to, not someone who’s main talent is breathing heavily and looking scared. Alas.
Also Tobey MaGuire was Carraway- I guess I don’t really think of him as a young upstart because Spiderman was so long ago and I feel like he’s middle aged now but thanks to good genes or good lighting or both he convincingly played a fresh faced young man.
This movie was very beautiful- the party scenes were ON POINT- a Vogue set designer couldn’t have done better. There was tropical colored glitter and party streamers and gargantuan crystal chandeliers, inflatable zebras in the pool, etc. etc. Speaking of the pool-so much turquoise, I’m such a fan.
I liked this movie. But it made me need to go read the book because it was very clear there were LOTS of holes. You know in Harry Potter when they just make a visual reference to something because they assume everyone has read the books and because they can’t fit 700 pages of details into three hours so there will be a shot of something unexplained and everything moves on? This movie did that a lot I felt like. For example: they kept cutting back to this blue billboard that was an ad for an old optometrist. It was a set of eyes in a pair of glasses. They said one thing about it, but I remember the cover of the book I read in high school was also a blue face with eyes so there must be some significance to it. Perhaps some symbolism about being watched, I don’t know.
I thought they did a great job of conveying how much of a house of cards Gatsby had really built- because let’s all be honest, Leonardo DiCaprio in a period piece about a guy who lies about who he is to get rich? We’ve all seen that movie it’s called Catch Me if You Can. And it had Tom Hanks in it. But in that movie you got the sense that Leo was this suave anyman who could literally outsmart anything and anyone, and who despite situation would come out on top. Gatsby is literally the opposite of that- there’s this one scene in the movie where after he “loses his temper” you sort of release his entire life he’s built for himself, his fortune, his house it’s all a fever dream hinging on this girl who’s married to someone else. It’s so SAD. Then SPOILER ALERT DON’T READ IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN/READ when he dies and no one comes to his funeral it’s even more sad, then when you realize his funeral is in the same place all these lavish parties were but now the house seems cavernous and empty compared to when “all of New York” was in it, it’s even MORE sad.
Leo does such an excellent job. His SPOILER ALERT death scene is basically a close up of his eyes which I feel like would be the hardest thing to fake- who knows what being dead feels like?-and he kills it 😉 Also Jesus Christ he is so sexy what is he like 50 now?? (38). But LORD this movie did more for my lady garden area (ewww) than Magic Mike (which wasn’t very hard to do).
There was a female golfer role which I didn’t really understand- like why was she there? Isla Fisher looked the worst I’ve ever seen her in her role as “flapper mistress/garage attendant.” I didn’t think she did a very good job even though I really like her. Her performance seemed kind of wooden and hollow. (But I just watched Bachelorette and she’s excellent in that). The guy who played Carey Mulligan’s husband was really good I thought- a perfect sympathetic balance of asshole and victim.
I thought they could have done more with the music- there were like two Kanye songs (YEEZUS LIVES) and a Jay-z song. and a Lana del Ray song they kept remixing and playing at different parts, but always the chorus, “will you still love me when I’m not young and beautiful” something like that. Very Lana-esque. But there was no fusion of song and movie where I was like ‘oh shit,’ like I was for that Rick Ross song in Django.
There was a pretty emotional hankerchief throwing scene, and Gatsby and Daisy’s reunion was pretty real. I liked it. It didn’t suck. I don’t know what else I was expecting from it. Jessica Chastain maybe.
Everything was cool, but I don’t think I was moved emotionally by this movie. They kept projecting text on the screen during Tobey’s voiceover narrations which sometimes worked, most of the time didn’t. It looked kind of tacky and powerpoint-ish. But it did highlight some truly beautiful phrases which makes me think the book would be way better if I read it now. Title true to post, I Heard the Book Was Better.