Note: I attended a screening of The Great Gatsby as press but received no compensation for writing this post.
Like most other high school students, I read The Great Gatsby in one of my high school English classes. Let’s just say that I don’t remember hating it.
This year, my oldest daughter, a junior in high school, read the Great Gatsby, and then to my surprise my second daughter, in 8th grade, checked out the book from her school library and read it as well. Their reading was certainly timely considering the May 10, 2013 release of the newest theatrical version of The Great Gatsby.
As a person who once read the classic F. Scott Fitzgerald novel and who loves Tobey Maguire and Leonardo DiCaprio, I was interested in seeing the new movie. As a mother whose daughters recently read the book, I was particularly interested in seeing if this would be appropriate for my teens to watch.
“No amount of fire could challenge the fairytale he had stored up in his heart.” – Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire)
If you’re anything like me, you might need a refresher on the story behind The Great Gatsby. Here’s the official synopsis:
About The Great Gatsby
The story: “The Great Gatsby” follows Fitzgerald-like, would-be writer Nick Carraway as he leaves the Midwest and comes to New York City in the spring of 1922, an era of loosening morals, glittering jazz and bootleg kings. Chasing his own American Dream, Nick lands next door to a mysterious, party-giving millionaire, Jay Gatsby, and across the bay from his cousin, Daisy, and her philandering, blue-blooded husband, Tom Buchanan. It is thus that Nick is drawn into the captivating world of the super-rich, their illusions, loves and deceits. As Nick bears witness, within and without the world he inhabits, he pens a tale of impossible love, incorruptible dreams and high-octane tragedy, and holds a mirror to our own modern times and struggles.
The credits: Academy Award® nominee DiCaprio (“Blood Diamond,” “Aviator”) plays Jay Gatsby, with Tobey Maguire starring as Nick Carraway; Joel Edgerton and Oscar® nominee Carey Mulligan (“An Education”) as Tom and Daisy Buchanan; Isla Fisher and Jason Clarke as Myrtle and George Wilson; and newcomer Elizabeth Debicki as Jordan Baker. Indian film legend Amitabh Bachchan plays the role of Meyer Wolfsheim.
Oscar® nominee Baz Luhrmann (“Moulin Rouge!”) directs the film in 3D from a screenplay co-written with Craig Pearce. The film will be distributed in 3D and 2D by Warner Bros. Pictures and is rated PG-13.
The Costumes and Music of The Great Gatsby
The costuming and jewelry showcased throughout the movie are breath-taking. I was amazed to learn that Tiffany & Co. collaborated with the film’s costume and production designer, Catherine Martin, to create many awe-inspiring bejeweled dresses and jewelry to match. Tiffany & Co. was founded in New York in 1837, and the company became the a symbol of the city’s chic sophistication as well as, in general, America’s glamour and abundance during the Jazz Age.
The music attempted to tie the Jazz Age of the 1920s to the modern day. As Director Baz Luhrmann said, the story may have been written about the 20s, but this is our world. This is what we are living today. The music, more than anything, brought the two worlds together. I didn’t love all of the music (Some of it, I loved. Some of it, I wasn’t crazy about) but it was a huge part of this version of the story.
“I was within and without…enchanted and repelled by the inexhaustible variety of life.” – Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire)
Who should see The Great Gatsby
If you ever read The Great Gatsby in a high school or college English class….
If you love fashion…
If you love New York City…
If you love historical pieces…
…then you should consider seeing The Great Gatsby.
If you are my teenage daughter, then you should probably wait to see Gatsby. I’ll admit that there was LESS sex than I was worried I’d encounter in the movie…
The tempo of the city had changed sharply.
The buildings were higher.
The parties were bigger.
The morals were looser, and the liquor was cheaper.
However, like F. Scott Fitzgerald himself said, this story is about drinking and partying, sex and excessive spending. The subject matter alone is enough to make a parent uneasy about having their kids watch. There is plenty of suggestive dancing, and while the sex scenes are mild (kissing with bare backs showing on a bed) they are there. Language was not an issue in the movie, thank goodness.
It’s been a while since I’ve read the book, but I did feel like the movie stuck pretty closely with the book’s story line, minus a few minor changes. It is excellently cast (I can’t imagine anyone more perfect for each of the characters) and well-acted. Honestly, it was not the best movie I’ve seen lately, but it certainly wasn’t the worst, either. It’s difficult to create a new movie about an old story that people know so well…to stay true to the original story but make something fresh and new. Baz Luhrmann’s Gatsby was new and different, and I could tell right off the bat that not everyone would love it.
Why 3D? I was wondering before seeing the movie why The Great Gatsby would “need” to be in 3D, other than the fact that 3D movies are trendy right now. While The Great Gatsby is not filled with action scenes or crazy special effects, it was obviously filmed to be seen in 3D. From the visually stunning costumes and dancing to the falling snow and leaves and flowers, The Great Gatsby was enjoyable in 3D, although sometimes it was almost too much. The 3D enhanced the visual magnificence of the movie. However, if you’re trying to save a couple of bucks, I don’t think skipping the 3D would cause you to miss out on anything.
New York City celebrates the release of The Great Gatsby
If you’re in new York City, be sure to stop by Tiffany’s Fifth Avenue for The Great Gatsby themed window displays, designed in collaboration with the film’s Academy Award®-winning costume and production designer Catherine Martin.
Check out the Brooks Brothers flagship store on Madison Avenue for the Brooks Brothers Gatsby Collection inspired by the costumes designed by Catherine Martin for The Great Gatsby.
The Plaza Hotel, whose history is intrinsically tied to The Great Gatsby (and its author F. Scott Fitzgerald), will celebrate the Roaring `20s with period-inspired affairs throughout the spring. Visitors can embrace the Jazz Age with a collection of experiences throughout The Plaza.
Disclosure: I watched The Great Gatsby before its May 10, 2013 release date so that I could report back to my readers with a thorough Great Gatsby movie review. No compensation was received, and all thoughts and opinions are my own.
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