Disclaimer: Read the book before seeing the film. Whether you remember all the details from when you read it in your high school English class or just read it recently as it’s an American classic; just ensure you have a basic understanding of the story. Trust me. You’ll be happy you read it.
Oh Baz… you did it again. First you stole my heart with Romeo + Juliet. Then you convinced me diamonds were a girl’s best friend in Moulin Rouge. And now you truly did it. You took the words of the infamous F. Scott Fitzgerald and created a film so dynamic in sound, varied paces, and costuming, without losing the essence of the overall message – a story of “love”, wealth, privilege and all that’s evil in between. Even the moments where you heard the reinvention of Jay-Z’s rap tracks infused with the jazz age playing in the background, it never caught you off guard. It just sounded like no other track would be as befitting. And I can’t forget the top notch selection of talent – Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, Carey Mulligan. AMAZING!
The following line from the novel said by Nick Carraway sets the overall tone for the movie,”I couldn’t forgive him or like him, but I saw that what he had done was, to him, entirely justified. It was all very careless and confused. They were careless people, Tom and Daisy – they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together and let other people clean up the mess they had made […].” (9.136-145) The pomp and circumstance. The ostentatious lifestyle. The frivolous care taken for others as long as it doesn’t effect them [the rich]. The division in class due to race, how someone lives as well as how they earn their way is not only prevalent in today’s world – though we choose to live with beer goggles on and say times are quickly progressing – but Luhrman makes the most out of every shot to hint at this exact message.
Honestly, it’s one of the best films I’ve seen this year alongside Beasts of the Southern Wild and Silver Linings Playbook. Just be prepared to NOT cry, but gasp a few times as well as say,”No. They. Didn’t.” It’s one of those exciting and jaw dropping cinematic productions. Also, take a friend with you. There’s going to be lots to discuss afterwards.