1. The story
The Great Gatsby is a classic, beautiful and tragic love story. For the ones that haven’t read the book: I don’t want to spoil too much about the story, but I do want to give a small synopsis. I probably won’t say anything that would not be on the back of the dvd case, but skip the next (small) part if you want to stay totally clueless ;) Anyway, what is it about and why is it so great? The Great Gatsby is a story told by Nick Carreway, who finds himself talking to his shrink about his past and his fascination with his old millionaire neighbour during his time in New York: Jay Gatsby. Gatsby lured Nick in with his lavish nouveau riche lifestyle, his mystery and glamorous parties, but Nick soon discovered that there was so much more to Gatsby’s story. Enter Daisy, the girl that Gatsby has been obsessed with for years and years. And somehow you know… this is not going to end well. Sounds a bit sad? Yes, it kind of is. But wow, it’s also so very beautiful. It touches on so many aspects of love (and life). The book (by F. Scott Fitzgerald) is a classic for a reason.
2. The actors
The three main characters are played by Leonardo DiCaprio (Gatsby), Carey Mulligan (Daisy) and Tobey McGuire (Nick). They have such great chemistry together! Leonardo is absolutely brilliant as Gatsby. Like I read online: Leonardo DiCaprio wanted to play Jay Gatsby because he was drawn to “the idea of a man who came from absolutely nothing, who created himself solely from his own imagination. Gatsby’s one of those iconic characters because he can be interpreted in so many ways: a hopeless romantic, a completely obsessed wacko or a dangerous gangster, clinging to wealth.” And you can feel that he is so committed to his role. The same can be said for the other two actors. Tobey McGuire plays his role as Nick very convincingly (his naiveté feels genuine) and Carey as Daisy is magical. I must say, the idea of Carey and Leonardo as an onscreen couple first seemed highly unbelievable to me, but after only a few seconds into their first shared scene they had me convinced.
3. The cinematography
I’ll be honest with you gals; Baz Luhrmann is not my favourite producer/director out there. His work is sometimes a bit TOO much for me. Moulin Rouge? No thank you! But I have to admit; I loved loved lovedddd his über dramatic style in this film. The dramatic glamorous shots, beautiful sets and special effects… It just FITS. Here is a clip where you can see all the special effects that have been added in (and you can see what it would have looked like without!). Don’t watch if you’re still planning on seeing the film, because it’s full with spoilers. Oh, and let’s not forget about THE WARDROBE. I know someone else is responsible for that, so props to the costume designer. I wanted almost everrrrry outfit. And Leo looked so incredible handsome in that scene on the boat (see the first picture of this post).
4. The soundtrack
Young and Beautiful (by Lana del Rey) gives me the chills everytime I hear it and it’s mostly because of The Great Gatsby. It’s played throughout almost the entire film (instrumental background music) and used in various scenes featuring Gatsby and Daisy. Forgive me, but I’m going to use the word again: it’s just magical. Romantic and magical. I love it so much when they get this right; music that makes a scene extra intense or special. The same goes for the song by Florence and the Machine (Over the Love). Just go and watch it, you’ll see what I mean.
5. Another reason to watch?
Well, JUST BECAUSE, old sport!*
*The phrase “old sport” is said 55 times during the movie; all but four of those times are delivered by Leonardo DiCaprio.