Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Great Gatsby

Gatsby was awesome.  So awesome that I didn't really cry about it until I was at home. In my bed.  What can I say, I'm a cry baby.

I didn't really appreciate the way they colored the story.  They were pretty heavy handed in guiding the audience's opinion.  I think  what made the book such a classic is that Nick, the narrator, explains in the beginning that he reserves judgement.  In the movie, Nick gives his judgement at the very beginning.  Kind of hard to be open minded after that.  I felt like I was being spoon-fed. He was also super present in the movie.  The movie was about him and his experiences, rather than that of those around him. Still a wonderful movie, but I don't think it's classic status like the book. Best part: when Gatsby first introduces himself to Nick and he warmly raises his glass in the final moment of a symphonic fireworks show. The man's got style. Or, a "perfect, irresistible imagination!"

I also felt like Daisy wasn't hateful enough.  She seems like a total victim here, but in the book, she displays character flaws from the beginning.  Nick's comment that she and Tom are "careless" is kind of the main point, but Daisy doesn't show much carelessness except for when she kills Myrtle.  The whole film, she is endeared to the audience and her love with Gatsby is made noble.  In the book, she is a very attractive, charismatic, careless, almost heartless girl.  She is not endearing.  She does garner sympathy, but she allows herself to play the victim. Not endearing. Her love affair with Gatsby is not as important to her as it is made out to be in the movie.  Yes, he mattered to her, but she never would have chosen him over Tom, even if she had them both side by side.  It can never be the way Gatsby wishes.  Gatsby is not old, comfortable money.  No amount of cash, cars, and mansions can change that.  He will never measure up, he will never be enough. It's not based on personal merit, it's chance of birth. This is shown by the contrast of when Tom is/isn't there.  When he's not around, Daisy loves Jay and wants to be with him and thinks he's perfect.  When Tom's there, everything about Gatsby seems impossible, trashy, silly and small.

The Great Gastby disproves the American Dream.  It says that you can't really rise up to people who will never accept you.  No matter what you do, what you're born with does affect you. That's depressing.  Is it true? Maybe, maybe not.  But studying public health, I know that what you're born into does matter.  I think stories of rags to riches are so inspiring to us because we subconsciously understand how difficult it really is to overcome everything that "rags" entails. I wish people were more conscious of it.

In the book, Gatsby's relationship with his father breaks my heart.  It's so wistfully tender.  Gatsby doesn't bring his father into his new world.  He can't.  His father doesn't belong in the world into which Gatsby is so desperately trying to fit. But he loves his father.  His boyhood list includes that he wants to be better to his parents.  He gives his father money.  But he can't be in both worlds.  To acknowledge his past is to be excluded from the future he desires. I was really disappointed that they cut this aspect out of the movie. It's very telling of the purity of Gatsby's heart and I felt like the audience should have seen it.  And understood more why Gatsby is good.

The casting was phenomenal. Everyone nailed it. What a story. About human nature, privilege and responsibility. Pure, cuttingly raw, innocent, and passionate emotion, masked and confused by fun and excess.  Yes, it resonates with humanity today.

Anyway, those are my brief thoughts:)

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