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‘When you and I were forever wild’ – The beauty of The Great Gatsby

On Friday I decided to treat myself to a copy of The Great Gatsby on DVD to watch that night. Having seen it at the cinema, I was wholly impressed by the quality of the film, cast, production and soundtrack – all incredible and I would expect nothing less from Baz Luhrmann. Although we saw it in 3D at the cinema, we watched it on our huge TV at home and it still had the same incredible effect. The songs gave me goosebumps and the words, cleverly constructed into the storyline by F Scott Fitzgerald all those years ago, gave me shivers.

After studying the book at school and university, I cannot help but look at the film and book in terms of the class differences and the commentary on society. The line that still gets me every time is said by Daisy, played by Carey Mulligan, when she says:

“I hope she’ll be a fool – that’s the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool.”

The implication of this line in relation to the treatment of women and the objectification of women, by women themselves, is horrifying and the characters resigned to it, preferring to live out the fantasy than face or fight the truth.

This is the first adaptation of a novel to the screen where I believe that justice has been done to a great novel. With others over the years there were always bits missing or parts were not presented in the way I felt they should have been – for example, The Time Traveller’s Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger, was a particular disappointment. However, Gatsby was a magnificent representation of the roaring twenties that are pictured from reading the book, the flamboyance of the characters, the parties, the clothes and the music is perfectly executed on screen. The soundtrack brings the film bang up to date, while enhancing each scene – whoever put together the soundtrack and matched it to the scenes did an amazing job.

The actors chosen for each role were perfect, Carey Mulligan was exactly as I had imagined Daisy to be, Leonardo DiCaprio perfectly embodied the character of Gatsby and I loved Tobey Maguire’s dry and detached commentary of what was happening around him. My favourite scenes of the film had to be the party scenes, the day where Gatsby and Daisy are reunited and finally the scene in the hotel room that sparks the final demise of each character. Finally, my favourite part of the whole film has to be Lana Del Ray’s version of Young and Beautiful, a song that pierces my heart each time I hear it and brings a tear to my eye. Not usually a huge fan of Del Ray, I often find her music a bit heavy going and samey, but this track is stunning and flawless. Her voice is truly beautiful and the song perfectly matches the mood of the film, it shows the shades of darkness of the characters mixed with the light and hope shared by them for the future.

I love the line of the song, towards the end, that goes:

“He’s my sun, he makes me shine like diamonds.”

It just captures the feelings shared between Daisy and Gatsby so beautifully, a feeling I know well, that one look from the one you love can set you alight and bring you to life. Stunning all around. I love this film and I love the fact that this film has made by boyfriend, who has never really like Luhrmann’s films, think again.

Only problem is that I need to win the lottery in order to fulfil my wish of hiring a mansion or stately home to hold a fabulous twenties-themed Gatsby party with everyone I know. I want to have everyone dressed up in gorgeous flapper dresses, feathers and beads. Everyone would be swing dancing all over the place with my friends from Swing Patrol and the music would be big band and lively. Plenty of cocktails and sparkle everywhere. It really would be the party to end all parties, but how on earth I would put this on – why knows without the funds!

Who else has seen The Great Gatsby that has read the novel? What did you think of it?

 

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