Let me start of by saying I haven’t read the book. I know, I know, it’s required reading for practically every high school student. I must have been sick that day.
It’s difficult to give this move a single overall grade because some aspects were pretty good while others were…not so much. Lets start with the good. The sets and costumes were fantastic. If you like period pieces then there will be a lot here for you to like.
The acting was, I thought, rather bland for the most part. Of course Leonardo DiCaprio was his typical amazing self. Can’t find fault with any of his performance. And I thought Joel Edgerton, playing Tom Buchanan, did a rather good job with a few difficult scenes. He had a handful of scenes that required him to act without speaking and I thought he pulled them off splendidly. Everyone else was somewhat stale.
My biggest problem with the movie is the story, specifically how the love story between Gatsby and Daisy is handled. I know The Great Gatsby is required reading for high school students and is generally held in high esteem but it is terrifically dated. Once again this is a love story where we are told about love between the two characters but we don’t feel it. Not one ounce of it. During the movie I couldn’t stop thinking, “Just pick another girl. There’s nothing special about Daisy.”
I don’t care when a story was written, if the author simply says, “These two characters are madly in love with each other,” but doesn’t follow up with showing us why they are in love then it has completely missed the mark. I need to see the characters motivation. I want to feel and understand the love between the characters, not just see it. I would say the same thing about the recent Les Mis. It’s the single worst love story I’ve ever seen. A movie where they get the love story right is Titanic. We understand the characters and see them fall in love and the best part is we understand why they are falling in love. Okay, I’ll get off my soap box now.