I love movies. I'm a sucker for a great romance. Truth is, I'm pretty silly for even a hint of romance. I like it when things work out. I don't mind the journey or the ups and downs, but I need a happy ending. I've watched romances with less than happy endings, Blue Valentine comes to mind, and those movies can be great. Sad or even realistic endings can teach so much about the human experience and some fine performances are delivered in the dark places characters find themselves, but a sweeping, grand, take my breath away, happy ending gets me every time. Breath hitching, hand to chest, tears and smiles and sigh...it's the best.
I don't leave the movie theatre wanting life to be that way. I know life is life and the movies are make believe, but when I'm sitting in the dark theatre I want to feel something wonderful and...extreme. The grand gesture, the supreme emotion. With my feet propped up in the chair and my Milk Duds, I'm not particularly concerned if the ending is plausible, it doesn't matter. Too many things outside the theatre are realistic, rational. I paid nine dollars for the flush and rush of what can only happen on the screen.
Books must be different for me. I love reading a happy ending too, but some of my favorite books do not have a happy ending. I'm not sure what the difference is. Maybe it's because I rarely read a book in one sitting. It's read in segments, moments stolen in my real life. It's not one long dark, Milk Dud, meditation so I don't need the happy ending? Could be.
For this reason I have a hard time with my favorite books being made into movies. I know it makes no sense. I've read The Great Gadsby more times than I can count. It is a spectacular piece of fiction and I'm okay that there is a message, a meaning and the ending is not happy in the traditional sense, but I don't want to see it in the sanctuary of a movie theatre. I felt the same way about Anna Karenina. They are both rich stories, filled with images that translate to the screen in vivid detail, but for some reason those stories need to stay in my mind. And, the movie is never as good as the book...that is really so true, it can't be.
I'm not sure where I'm going with this, perhaps this is just my written justification for why I can not bring myself to see Jay Gatsby on the big screen. If we are going to meet in the theatre things need to work out for him and...well, they just don't.