Great Gatsby

While in Regina I watched the Great Gatsby with Kenzie, Chris, and Carina.

I am not a universal Baz Luhrman fan; I loved Strictly Ballroom and Romeo + Juliet, but HATED Moulin Rouge and Australia.  However, the trailers looked beautiful, I like Carey Mulligan, and I am coming to appreciate Leonardo DiCaprio as an actor, so it was on my ‘to see’ list.  I thought it was great!

Tobey McGuire was a bit goofy (the boys hated him), but I think he was supposed to be a relatable narrator for the audience; if he was too slick it might be hard for folks to identify with him.  It was the same nerdy role as in all his other movies with the same tone, but it fit here.  The sets and costumes were AH-MAZING, Art-Deco all ovah.  It is not my favorite architecture/design feature, but I can appreciate that it was really well done here.

The music was inspired; the soundtrack was one of the best things about the movie.  Check out the full soundtrack here (for as long as that lasts). I’ve heard some people whine about how it should have had jazz, since it is a period movie.  But I think the modern music fits; Jazz was new and edgy and rebellious in 1922, but now it sounds anachronistic and old-fashioned.  It would have given the movie the feeling we were watching our (great-)grandparents as we think of them, not as they were in that decade: young, ambitious, and hunting for something new. Kanye and Jay-Z fit the ($100) bill.  Plus, there were some jazz interpretations for folks looking for it:


I did not love all the characters. I found Daisy to be distractingly, eye-rollingly passive, breathy, and unrelatable. I realize it isn’t fair to superimpose 2013 feminist values on a 90-year old character, but I just wanted to yell at her to show some fucking agency. Come ON! Glad she shagged Gatsby 10 minutes after meeting him though – take that, snooty southern parents!  😀 There was a bit of a class divide that made it hard to get on board with this as a ‘great American story’. How excited can we really get about these rich people problems? “Oh I live in this  island castle with gardens and a pool and servants but call a wahmbulance because life is so haaaaaard….” There have been some cool blogs about the depictions of gender and race in 1920’s, worth a read.   I’ll have to watch the Robert Redford version again and see if I like it better.




1 Comment

  1. I like your reviews. I’m with you – mixed feelings on Baz Luhrmann. Still, I’ve been enchanted with the trailers of this since they first showed up. Rather than being a downside, part of the appeal for me was the modern soundtrack. I’m so glad to read your post, as you have articulated so well why that would be. I have long imagined how Nana and her sisters would have viewed the flappers and the age of jazz.

    I’m also excited to see Joss Whedon’s version of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing. It’s one of my favourite plays, and I’ve seen so many different interpretations of it.

    The trailer for this latest version shows a modern film noir style, with the original language, and a phenomenal jazz soundtrack. I can hardly wait. (Here is the music from the trailer: St. Germain’s Rose Rouge.)

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