I love the novel The Great Gatsby. Love it in that yeah-I-know-all-the-dialogue-by-heart kind of way. So I was terrified that if I went to the Baz Luhrmann movie, I would I be that annoying old person grumbling in the dark: That is NOT the way Nick woke up after Tom's NYC party. That is NOT the way Meyer Wolfsheim ought to look. When is he going to say that Daisy's voice sounds like money? Never? NEVER?!?!?
I went, and yes, I was that person. But I'm still glad I saw the movie. Here's why:
The reviews called the movie a monstrosity, an embarrassment of clichés, and much, much worse:
They called it unfaithful.
The worst transgression was the conceit that our dear narrator, Nick Carroway, was in an institution, trying to recover from alcoholism after his summer of Jay Gatsby. Get this: Nick was writing the text of Gatsby as therapy.
This alone almost kept me away. But if you get popcorn during these scenes or check your cell phone (I know you didn't really turn it off) or let yourself be mesmerized by the swirling, sparkly snow (something must swirl and sparkle in every scene, apparently) you can ignore this unfortunate framework. I put my hands over my ears and sang, la la la la la!
No one minded a bit.
When we left the theater, my fourteen-year-old boy, who really didn't want to come, said he liked it. He liked The Great Gatsby! A work of Literature!
I stared at him, shocked. "Yeah? Why? The explosions? The sparkly swirly stuff? The car chases?" (Yes, there are car chases in this movie. Don't ask.)
He shrugged. "It was a good story."
Causes Diana Holquist Supports