In the grand scheme of things, I was incredibly late to the book The Great Gatsby. It was only when a friend literally threatened to withdraw his friendship if I didn't read it, that I finally decided to. And I am so thankful that he did. Since the day I've finished it, I've forced it upon others, as if it had been a life long aim of mine to convert people to Gatsby fans.
The film was announced before we'd even left to go to Korea, so it feels like a long, long time that I've been waiting to see it. Baz Luhrmann is one of my very favourite directors which made the wait feel even more longer, although I was sure that it would be worth it.
Then the reviews started to trickle out and they were all but average. I wasn't sure whether that was just because the film was awful, whether people wouldn't like Baz Luhrmann's style layed on top of the classic novel, or whether the book was just cherished too much by people that Luhrmann could never do right. Maybe it was a little mix of everything. So, I went to the cinema a little apprehensive and I am so glad I did now.
Natasha and I went to see it last Tuesday afternoon, a bit of an extended celebration of her birthday. Going to the cinema is so cheap here, in comparison to back in the UK. Being back in a cinema did make me miss my unlimited card that I had at home though. Rainy afternoons spent watching 2 or 3 films back to back. Sigh.
Having little to no expectations of the film only made me love it more. I loved the characters and the casting, Leo was perfect for that role, I adored Lana Del Rey's addition to the soundtrack, and I thought the flamboyance of Luhrmann perfectly complimented Fitzgerald's image of Gatsby's lifestyle.
My very favourite scene is when you see a flicker of Gatsby's insecurity come through as he prepares to meet Daisy after so many years apart. You know that every choice he has made was to lead him to that moment, yet he blows it so disastrously. It's uncomfortable and unrefined, the opposite of how he wanted it to be, and so ridiculous when they're surrounded by mountains of macarons and flowers.
Up until the pivotal scene in the hotel room on the hot Summer's day, I thought the film was perfect. From there I did find it a little slow, but I guess it reflects the waiting and the tension that ties the characters so tightly together. I loved how it portrayed Daisy and Gatsby's dance with nostalgia and Gatsby's time consumingly constructed visions of how things could be.
Overall, despite Tasha falling asleep part way through the film, I have to say that I did like it. It was different from the book, but I liked that it came with Lurhmann's stamp on it too. It was wild and wistful, tragic and unvarnished all in one sparkling cocktail.