Ratings for reviews will appear above the fold, while the review itself will appear below the fold to avoid spoilers for anyone that wants to go into it with a blank slate.
Jean-Paul’s rating: 4/5 stars
The sheer decadence will draw you in and destroy you.
Jay Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio) explodes on the New York nouveau riche scene like a meteor streaking through the sky. His parties are legendary. His guests are a who’s who of Americana. But who is he? Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire), who happens to rent a simple old servant’s house next to Gatsby’s palace, is about to find out.
The entire movie is beautifully crafted. There is a palpable air of mystery around Gatsby. Gatsby’s world is infinitely alluring. You can’t help but want to be there. To drink the alcohol. To talk to the people. To dance and sing. To belong to a world which morality says shouldn’t exist. Nick Carraway is us. We see Gatsby’s world through him. Tobey Maguire does a terrific job of bringing Nick Carraway to life and providing an outsider’s wide-eyed, awe struck optimism of a world in which he doesn’t belong and in which no one should live.
The riches, the house, the parties, they’re all there to impress a woman. Daisy Buchanan (Carey Mulligan) lives across the bay from Jay Gatsby and they are lovers from another lifetime. In this lifetime, Daisy is married to Tom Buchanan (Joel Edgerton). Tom is a wealthy old-money playboy who dallies with other women from time to time. Daisy is well aware of this but her love for Tom is only surpassed by her love for her lifestyle.
Nick, the old sport, becomes a facilitator for everyone. He goes along with Tom when he’s out with his mistress and he helps Gatsby reunite with Daisy. Gatsby wants Daisy back. But who will Daisy choose? The final act of the movie reveals her choice and all of the consequences of that choice.
I hated “The Great Gatsby” when I was required to read it in high school. Watching a movie based on it, I can see why. The idea of an uber-wealthy leisure class was as foreign to me as quantum physics. 20+ years later, older, and wiser, I can finally appreciate it for its beauty and its flaws. A reread of the book is probably in order.