The Great Gatsby had tested my patience. I first heard that they were making the movie in 2011 and I patiently waited for the movie to be released. 2012 came and went… The Great Gatsby was put on hold from one summer to the next. Of course, I had my hesitations when it came to the director’s choice of Baz Luhrmann. Unlike just about everyone else in the world, I didn’t like Moulin Rouge, I despised his “modern” take on Romeo & Juliet and I was one of the few that sat through all 3 ½ hours of Australia… just to prove that the movie did NOT get better. Baz has been forgiven time and again for his lack of content and excess of pizzazz, but that’s hard to do when taking on The Great Gatsby. Needing both the pizzazz and content, Gatsby is a beloved novel with complicated characters. Over time, the more I heard about the movie, the less certain I became. Jay Z as music producer (yay!), delays on top of postponements (nay), the Prada and Brooks Brothers costumes (as always, yay!) but it was the casting that left me comforted. Tobey Mcguire as Nick Carraway? Genius! The trouble with Nick is that you almost forget that he’s there; he’s utterly transparent to the love story. Does anyone really remember who played Nick in the ’74 version? All anyone remembers is Mia Farrow and Robert Redford! Tobey Mcguire is a regular ol’ stand up guy whose completely… forgettable. In a good way. And in my opinion, Carey Mulligan as Daisy was the best idea anyone could’ve ever had. She’s delicate, innocent, childlike, fragile and easily the most beautiful woman in any room. Those big brown eyes? Those cherub cheeks? She absolutely glowed in each awe-inspiring costume and became one with every surrounding, whether an airy white curtain blowing in the breeze, or a shining chandelier in the Gatsby mansion.
Jordan, Tom, Myrtle… they were all cast perfectly. My only hesitation was of Gatsby himself. I wouldn’t consider myself a fan of Leonardo DiCaprio, but seriously, how on Earth did they make Leonardo Dicaprio look like that? Gallons of makeup? Plastic surgery? In some scenes he looked eerily similar to his most famous roles from his youth, Jack or Romeo. Whatever they did to him, it worked. He looked like a Gatsby… handsomer, dapper, fit. Because the story was is close to my heart, I was holding my breath… could they pull it off? Could they make this epic story into something beautiful and tragic and wonderful for a modern audience? I knew from the very first moments of The Great Gatsby that I didn’t need to hold my breath any longer. Almost identical to my reaction of Les Miserables, I was immediately comforted by those opening notes of music and the pristine clarity of the picture. I felt that after a year of waiting for Gatsby, Baz Luhrman wanted me to see this movie in 3D. I felt that it would be a sin to ignore his painstakingly long 3D production process (I’m assuming that’s the reason for the long delays!) and experience a less dimensional, less intense experience. Every piece of confetti, every strand of pearls, every flower petal, every ray of sunshine is illuminated. So spend the extra dollars, don the glasses and watch this movie in 3D, I promise, you won’t be disappointed!
And the music, the music! was spectacular. Every song was strangely out of place and yet fit perfectly. You were aware that there was a soundtrack playing and yet it felt perfectly in tune with the story. There were some effects that I didn’t love, especially parts of the introductory sequence of New York City set in the 1920’s, and I’m pretty sure that some scenes were musical before they hit the cutting room floor, but otherwise I was inspired by every scene, every detail, every emotion. It’s by no means a short movie, and yet I felt disappointed that the story was coming to an end. I wanted it to last longer, to go on forever. Time flew by as I was in the theater and I left feeling changed, not ready the enter my world again. I preferred to live in Gatsby’s world of drinking champagne, dancing all night, passionately kissing and driving fast, pretty cars.