The Great Gatsby: A Movie Review

As an English major, as soon as I heard there was going to be another remake of The Great Gatsby and that it starred Leonardo DiCaprio as Jay Gatsby, I knew it had to be on my must see list.

The movie opens with Nick Carraway (Tobey McGuire) talking to a doctor in a sanatorium, discussing how his staying in New York had changed him from who he once was and how he thought of people. While he used to give everyone the benefit of the doubt, the events of his New York stay had changed the way he viewed humanity. The only person he could still stand was his neighbor: Jay Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio).

After he admits to the doctor that he is having a hard time reliving the memories and talking to him about it, the doctor convinces Nick to write it all down as a story. So he does. He launches into the tale of when he moved to New York and visited his cousin, Daisy Buchanan (Carey Mulligan), and her husband, Tom (Joel Edgerton); how he finds out, and witnesses, Tom cheating on his cousin with a car mechanic’s wife, Myrtle Wilson (Isla Fisher); and how his drinking and partying changed from next to never to on a daily basis.

Eventually, Nick finds out that Daisy and his neighbor, Gatsby, used to date and that Gatsby was still in love with his cousin. He helps get them to meet again over tea and the two hit it off. But their secret romance goes down hill when Gatsby tries to convince Daisy to tell Tom that she never loved him and to leave Tom for him. Although Daisy agrees, she can’t honestly admit that she never loved Tom during the confrontation. With the entire group upset and on edge, Daisy and Gatsby recklessly drive back to Daisy’s house, ending with Gatsby hitting Myrtle with his car, instantly killing her and, without knowing it, signing his own death as well.

Now, there were quite a few artistic selections that I really thought were cool. While Nick is writing, he narrates what is happening, and as he narrates his words, in a soft calligraphy the words come up across the screen. I also thought that Leonardo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan were amazing with their characters. From what I remember from the book (which I hadn’t read since 11 grade), Daisy was Daisy. She was the fun loving, but deceitful woman I remembered reading about. And I loved it.

However, the one artistic selection I didn’t like and could’ve done without was the soundtrack. I understand that Jay Z was the executive producer, but I think it was a little unnecessary to have half the soundtrack to be his songs. Especially because it took me right out of the film. I did kind of like when the remixed some of them to make them a bit jazzy, but couldn’t stop the frown being plastered on my face when “H to the izzo” started playing.

Overall, the movie was OK. It wasn’t amazing and I felt some parts were rushed. It was good enough to sit through the two hours, but definitely not one of my favorites of the year.

Grade: C+