Book review: The Great Gatsby / F. Scott Fitzgerald (1925)



Spoilers occur, this review is intended for those who already watched the film/read the novel

I read the novel earlier this year, it isn’t a book I can say I loved, but I did quite like it, and it really is an essential book if you are into classics. A novel that has continually proved itself larger than its many critics, which is perhaps what we mean when we speak of a masterpiece.

As Jessica Roake points out at Paste Magazine: ”There are layers of irony, nuance and symbolism that give the story great depth, even though most of the characters appear to be quite shallow. It's enduring appeal may be due to its ability to tap into the romantic dreamer in all of us, as well as the way it imaginatively depicts a bygone era of American culture, through the lens of an author who experienced and embodied that period so well.”

The Great Gatsby is about what you do, when you already have a lot of money. For Fitzgerald, wealth is a symbol of youth, with its optimism, thirst for success and recognition, its magical possibility of the impossible. But Fitzgerald’s view of the Twenties was serious and complex, for he recognized the glamour as well as the waste, the charm as well as the self-destruction. In “Early Success” (1937) Fitzgerald wrote: “All the stories that came into my head had a touch of disaster in them, the lovely young creatures in my novels went to ruin”

Fitzgerald drew upon his life, family, friends, and favorite locales for his novels and stories, but his purpose in doing so was not to expose real people and events but to recreate them in fictional forms capable of conveying truths as he saw them.

The Great Gatsby is a critique of the American Dream. It’s a time capsule depicting what would be known as The Roaring Twenties, or the Jazz Age. “It was an age of miracles, it was an age of art, it was an age of excess, and it was an age of satire,” Fitzgerald wrote in “Echoes of the Jazz Age.”




Nick Carraway:
The point-of-view is Nick (Tobey Maguire), he is the unreliable narrator, who observes the mysterious Jay Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio). Nick the narrator differs from Nick the participant in events. He is looking back, and more mature and insightful. The wonderfully maintained vagueness is an essential part of the magic of the book.
While Nick is trying to write Gatsby, we are also reading Nick. Nick is a spectator in search of a performer, yet Gatsby is also a spectator of sorts. There is a strong tendency on Nick’s part to identify with Gatsby and to make him a hero. This is why it is so important for him to be able to feel that the account Gatsby gives of his life is all true. In Nick’s hypothesizing, speculating, imagining, there is something sympathetic in Nick’s keenness to give Gatsby the benefit of the doubt. How much this is promoted by (homosexual?) attraction to the man, or revulsion towards the others, is left unsaid. Gatsby’s grandiose plans seem to have dubious grounding. Nick prefers to erase whatever might be the dirty side of the story, either by omission, denial, over-writing, reinterpretation, though, of course, it is part of the brilliance of the book, that we keep getting glimpses of what Nick is trying to keep, and write, out.
Nick and Gatsby established the bond of war experience between them before they even learned each other's names, and the restlessness that Nick has noticed in Gatsby ("He was never quite still") (p.64) at the outset of their journey recalls again, like Nick's own restlessness, the agitations of the combat veteran.
It is also confirmed by Nick himself in subsequent narrative when he admires Gatsby's career: "He did extraordinarily well in the war. He was a captain before he went to the front, and following the Argonne battles he got his majority and the command of the divisional machine-guns" (p.150).
But is the whole book about Nick Carraway who invents a fascinating figure to compensate for the dismal Middle West to which he has retreated? Is Gatsby’s war record another lie?
Nick has delivered a work of art, and there can never be any unraveling of the motives for creating art. Nick: "I was within and without, simultaneously enchanted and repelled by the inexhaustible variety of life" (p.40)
Because we diverge from Nick--sometimes hesitating at his reactions, sometimes moving beyond them--we feel, even as we too are compelled with fascination, a firmer objectivity.
After Gatsby's death Nick comes to realize that, despite his unsavory reputation, Gatsby was the best of the lot. He was willing to take the blame for the death of Myrtle Wilson, Tom's mistress, even though Daisy had been driving the car.
Nick asks what part of the Midwest Gatsby is from. Gatsby replies that he is from San Francisco, to which Nick's response is a simple 'I see' (p.71). What is surprising about this exchange is not so much that San Francisco is not a Midwestern city, but that Nick offers little reaction to Gatsby's blatantly obvious 'mistake'. Even if he were not from the Midwest himself, anyone with a basic knowledge of American geography would know that San Francisco is on America's west coast. Indeed, it seems impossible that Gatsby (also from the Midwest) would not realize it too. So why does he tell such an obvious lie, and why does Nick let it pass without comment? The only plausible explanation is that Gatsby wants Nick to know that he's lying, to show Nick that 'Gatsby' is a fictional creation. Nick's response of 'I see' implies that he is aware of the lie (he 'sees' the truth), but the fact that he neither challenges Gatsby nor points out the lie to the reader suggests that Nick chooses to be complicit with Gatsby's lies. It seems clear from the San Francisco incident that Nick is not interested in exposing the real Gatsby.
It takes Tom, who bothers to investigate Gatsby's past, to reveal Gatsby as a liar and a criminal. What Gatsby's San Francisco lie does is to allow Nick to see behind the scenes, to see that 'Gatsby' is a role with a more or less convincing back-story and with a set on which to perform.
It is possible, that Nick identifies with and admires Gatsby and wants to believe in the possibility of a man with little or no inheritance (like Gatsby and himself) becoming wealthy and successful in America.
Nick seems to want to believe in the democratic ideal that anyone can make it in America, Gatsby's life suggests to Nick that the mythic 'American Dream' is impossible (or extremely difficult) to achieve --he knows that a farm boy cannot become a member of the social elite, but he hopes that the Oxford-educated Jay Gatsby can achieve James Gatz's dream. A person from any social background could, potentially, make a fortune, but the American aristocracy—families with old wealth—scorned the newly rich industrialists and speculators.
The clash between “old money” and “new money” manifests itself in the novel’s symbolic geography: East Egg represents the established aristocracy, West Egg the self-made rich. Meyer Wolfshiem and Gatsby’s fortune symbolize the rise of organized crime and bootlegging.
Gatsby’s dream of loving Daisy is ruined by the difference in their respective social statuses.




Jay Gatsby:
Gatsby is a shadowy, elusive, non-drinking, self-isolating spectator at his own parties. He appears to experience and enjoy his desire and his dreams better at a distance. Perhaps he is afraid of being found out about his questionable business ventures, perhaps Gatsby is shy, and just happy to be the host and see others enjoy themselves at his parties. What is sad is his generosity goes almost completely unappreciated, especially at his unattended funeral. Gatsby has been used. No thanks for covering for Daisy Buchanan (Carey Mulligan), which cost Gatsby his life. For there is pathos about Gatsby, his aura of loneliness and isolation, an emptiness that seems to flow from his house. A somewhat childish ambition of trying to recreate a past romance by impressing Daisy with his wealth, without even getting to know her properly, and na├»vely and blindly following his passion without contemplating Daisy’s situation, and disregarding whether she still has feelings for Tom.

Gatsby’s lavish and hedonistic lifestyle is a construct, we quickly learn, erected in order to seduce Daisy, the lost love of his youth, who is now married to Tom Buchanan. If I can just get what I dream of (Daisy), then I’ll be happy, is what Gatsby believes. What recommends Gatsby to Nick is not the quality of his judgment but the intensity of his longing for Daisy. He got rich quick out of a sense of urgency and desperation and crazy hopefulness, out of refusing to get over a broken heart and give up the love of his life. But Gatsby forgets that every time we get what we wanted, we want more.
Gatsby has accumulated all this wealth and throws these parties, not necessarily because he finds them meaningful, but because he hopes it will attract Daisy’s attention. Gatsby’s dream of Daisy doesn’t have a happy ending, revealing the corruption that wealth causes and the unworthiness of the goal, much in the way Fitzgerald sees the American dream crumbling in the 1920s, as America’s powerful optimism, vitality, and individualism become subordinated to the amoral pursuit of wealth.
It has been suggested whether Gatsby is in love with Daisy, or in love with money. He stares towards the green light which is also in the direction of her expensive mansion. If this is true, then Gatsby is a phony, which is a legitimate interpretation, given the questionable nature of his income presumably from bootlegging. From that point-of-view, Nick has misread Gatsby, and Gatsby’s quest is not heroic, but greedy and false. But either way, is Gatsby really to blame, or is it society with its American dream corrupting the innocent Gatsby?
Fitzgerald wrote: “Gatsby turned out all right in the end, it was what preyed on Gatsby, what foul dust floated in the wake of his dreams.” You could say dreaming is a universal goal. As a reviewer wrote, the tragedy isn’t in dreaming, but in chasing an unworthy dream. Gatsby's dream girl is hardly worthy of his romantic quest. Perhaps he’s naively in love with the quest more than Daisy. In love with love, than with his beloved.

Gatsby on one level succeeds in portraying himself as this dashing rich guy, but he is pursuing a dream of restoring the past to create a beautiful future that can never be fulfilled. He wants to return to the happiest time in his life, when he felt safe, and wasn’t affected by corruption and the burdens of adult life. The irony is Gatsby’s pursuit of that dream leads only to more corruption and violence.
Gatsby wants to erase his past, change his name, and become a completely different person. Hell, he even wants to erase Tom Buchanan, by requesting Daisy to admit she never loved Tom. This can be read on a macro level. According to Emerson, fathering countries, like England, are to be forgotten. Emerson, and many writers who followed him, stressed self-reliance and self-inventing. The term The Self-Made Man was introduced in 1800s. There is ambition and courage in trying to become Mr. Somebody. The American dream of rags to riches is to be admired, because of how difficult it is to succeed. But to the extent that Gatsby is excessive, foolish and foredoomed, so the whole book suggests, is America. As history has shown, the Wall Street crash was not long after in 1929.
In confession, 11-year-old Gatsby rebels against his father, by saying he is guilty of not believing he was the son of his parents. For the dismalness of being a normal boy he substitutes by imagining himself to be someone important. A fantasy the author Fitzgerald himself owned to. But he keeps
the lie in the confessional to himself, the secret lie, the secret fantasy, comes to constitute his essential self. This is the American Dream that Fitzgerald takes on: the idea that with enough money and will, one can simply undo the past. And the novel is beautiful in how it allows the audience to yearn with Gatsby and the “colossal vitality of his illusion.”
The title “The Great Gatsby” is reminiscent of billings for such vaudeville magicians as “The Great Houdini” and “The Great Blackstone,” suggesting that the persona of Jay Gatsby is a masterful illusion.
An America full of Jay Gatsbys would be a disordered place to live. But an America with no one like Gatsby, no such heroes in its life or fiction, would be, in its way, unendurable, too. To miss what is great about Gatsby is to miss something essential to what is great about America.
Gatsby’s dream is probably the dream of Everyman, not only for the young man searching for his lost love, but for all of us who yearn for more time, perhaps for that bright future, and regret wistfully what has been lost. That final image of the individual pursuing his destiny, however fruitless that pursuit may prove, is perhaps the greatness of Gatsby, and maybe of us all.
You could say Gatsby's greatness lies in his capacity for illusion. Had he seen Daisy for what she was, he could not have loved her with such single-minded devotion. He comes to recapture Daisy, and for a time it looks as though he will succeed. But he must inevitably fail, because of his inability to separate the ideal from the real. Gatsby is playing a role he think Daisy wants to see, rather than just being himself. Gatsby prefers the dream over the reality. For all Fitzgerald lets us know, Gatsby dies with his dream intact.




Tom Buchanan:
Tom Buchanan (Joel Edgerton) is married to Daisy, and he is shown to be a crude and adulterous husband. Tom derides Jay Gatsby as Mr Nobody from Nowhere, the phrase does pose the implicit question, can anybody in this book be said to be Mr or Mrs Somebody from Somewhere? All are restless nomads from the Midwest with more or less money. Restlessness is the predominant mood of the novel, and the word and its variants occur frequently.
Tom has to protect his privileged position from the threat of 'new money' and he does so by destroying Gatsby, both literally and metaphorically. Tom's revelation of Gatsby's true origins signals the beginning of the end for him, and soon after the scene in the hotel, Gatsby is killed by Wilson, who mistakenly believes that he was responsible for Myrtle's death. It is no coincidence that Tom is the one who makes sure Wilson has the wrong culprit, effectively ensuring that Gatsby will no longer be a threat to his status or his marriage.




Daisy Buchanan:
Gatsby seems committed to an idea of Daisy that he has created rather than to the real woman she is. She is capable of affection (she seems genuinely fond of Nick and occasionally seems to love Gatsby sincerely), but not of sustained loyalty or care.
Daisy is in love with ease and luxury, is self-absorbed, has a sense of entitlement, and an inability to make difficult choices. You could say these are things we all struggle with during our life, and can make us unlikeable to others.
Daisy is one who lives for the moment, and for whom glimpses of tomorrow and the day after that and the day after that, are terrifying lapses of a willful blindness to such matters (and blindness is one of the novel's themes). Gatsby has his own willful blindness in the form of his enduring ideals and the dreams these ideals have created. In classical mythology, which the novel draws on, the goddess Fortune is also blind in that she favors no one (she is often figured with one eye open and one eye closed, winking like Daisy herself) as she turns her wheel about, thereby deciding the fates of human beings.
Early in his career Fitzgerald had acquired the popular reputation of having created the "flapper”, but this image is misleading. Fitzgerald's female characters are not trivial, immature, dumb beauties; instead, they are independent, courageous, and determined. Fitzgerald: "I had no idea of originating an American flapper when I first began to write. I simply took girls whom I knew very well and, because they interested me as unique human beings, I used them for my heroines."




Parallels to author F. Scott Fitzgerald’s own life:
There are literary echoes, "The Story of the Gadsbys" (1888) by Kipling. Or the series of compositional parallels with Heart of Darkness (1902): the narrator (who both participates in events and later recounts them), and is captivated by the "magic" of a powerful individual.
Elements of The Great Gatsby mirror Fitzgerald’s own life, a self-made man from a poor background, who joins the army during World War 1.
Fitzgerald’s life coincided with the rise of new technology that created public personalities who, once in the public arena, often lost control of their carefully cultivated images. Similarly, the Gatsby character created a public image, that lead to rumors about his behavior.
Fitzgerald’s St Paul friends (the private school in which he was enrolled in 1908) , were not Catholics, and this difference heightened a lifelong sense he had of always being the outsider. Further, Fitzgerald’s embarrassment over his mother’s eccentric behavior, and his father’s failure also contributed to his sense of being an outsider. Fitzgerald made friends, but was always self-conscious because of his parents’ peculiarities and his families continuing financial dependence on the McQuillans. Gatsby also seems embarrassed by his parents, by wanting to be someone else.
Although Fitzgerald lived in a pleasant rented row house, the large homes of his wealthy friends were in adjacent blocks, and the mansion of railroad magnate James J. Hill was a short walk from his home. The young Fitzgerald was thus, like Nick Carraway in The Great Gatsby, both a part of their world, and at the same time, an onlooker.
Fitzgerald’s courtship of Zelda Sayre during the war and his desperation when she broke their engagement probably inspired Gatsby’s feelings about Daisy. Fitzgerald knew that he had to achieve success that would allow Zelda to accept his proposal. He had bought her an engagement ring, but she was unwilling to accept him as her prospective husband because of his limited prospects, and they quarreled frequently. This Side of Paradise was published in 1920, and Fitzgerald and Zelda were married in April of that year. The photographs of the handsome young novelist and his beautiful wife, along with tales of their antics, filled the newspapers and magazines, and the Fitzgerald’s did everything possible to live up to their celebrity which coincided with the start of the ‘Jazz Age’. Zelda saw herself as the new flapper, and her own interviews and articles reinforced the public’s perception of the couple as overgrown children having a riotous good time – diving fully clothed into the fountain at the Plaza Hotel (Fitzgerald noted he was sober at the time); riding down Broadway in open cars, attending parties that lasted until dawn; drinking and dancing until they collapsed. Their friends included several from Fitzgerald’s Princeton days.



Daisy’s comment: “and I hope she’ll be a fool, that’s the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool” apparently are the exact words Fitzgerald’s wife Zelda uttered following the birth of their daughter Frances Scott "Scottie" Fitzgerald.
Visiting Long Island's north shore and attending parties at mansions may have inspired Fitzgerald's setting for the Great Gatsby. Today there are a number of theories as to which mansion was the inspiration for the book.






The green light:
The green light could be interpreted as a symbol of desire, a desire that is out of reach. Something at a distance we strive towards. A symbol of hopes and dreams. Because Gatsby’s quest for Daisy is broadly associated with the American dream, the green light also symbolizes that more generalized ideal. In Chapter 9, Nick compares the green light to how America, rising out of the ocean, must have looked to early settlers of the new nation.




The eyes of Dr. T. J. Eckleburg:
The eyes that watch over the world of the novel are those of Dr. T. J. Eckleburg on an old billboard in the valley of ashes. After Myrtle's death, her husband George Wilson is looking at these when he says God sees everything. Nothing seems able to intervene in Gatsby's own inexorable fate.
The eyes may represent God staring down upon and judging American society as a moral wasteland, though the novel never makes this point explicitly. Instead, throughout the novel, Fitzgerald suggests that symbols only have meaning because characters instill them with meaning. This lack of concrete significance contributes to the unsettling nature of the image. Thus, the eyes also come to represent the essential meaninglessness of the world and the arbitrariness of the mental process by which people invest objects with meaning.
The Valley of Ashes resembles something dark and lifeless. As a result of fire ashes stand for destruction and death. Furthermore the death of Myrtle Wilson in the Valley of Ashes stands for the pain associated with this valley. Also the fact that the Wilsons live in the valley shows that they are not of such high social standards as the other characters in the novel. By having to pass through the Valley of Ashes in order to get to New York, the other characters have to betake themselves to this lower status.




The use of colors in the story:
Andre Le Vot has traced the various subtle ways in which Fitzgerald deploys colors, above all blue and yellow. As Le Vot points out, blue is water, the sky, twilight, cool, restful, inviting.
Yellow is wheat, sunshine and fertility, but also whisky, gold (lucre), and dead, combustible straw, and is thus ambiguous, for what seems attractive and warm may turn combustible, violent, too hot. (Tom is straw-haired).
Ideally the two colors, and all they evoke, should be in harmony with each other, as in Nick’s odd but suggestive phrase ‘the blue honey of the Mediterranean’. But in this book they seem to drift apart and tend to opposition.
Misleadingly, perhaps, Gatsby’s car is yellow (though it is part of the dubiety that surrounds him that people disagree about the color: one describes it as cream-colored, another light green, like its owner, it appears differently in different lights). While Tom’s convertible is blue. But appropriately, they exchange cars, at Tom’s insistence, when their struggle over Daisy heads for climax and show-down.

How is the The Great Gatsby still relevant today?
Director Bazz Luhrmann: “I knew I had to do it, that book, because it’s always relevant, but it was particularly relevant now. The 20s was a period of a golden orgy of money, skyscrapers went up, everything was going up, the stock market was going up, airplanes, cars, and it looked like it would never fall. But Fitzgerald in his book, which is published in 1925, he predicted it was all going to crash.”
Nick Gillespie sees The Great Gatsby as a story "about the breakdown of class differences in the face of a modern economy based not on status and inherited position but on innovation. (…)This interpretation asserts that The Great Gatsby captures the American experience because it is a story about change and those who resist it.
Fitzgerald portrays the 1920s as an era of decayed social and moral values, evidenced in its overarching cynicism, greed, and empty pursuit of pleasure. The disintegration of the American dream in an era of unprecedented prosperity and material excess.
The novel is about the fleetingness of money and beauty, from the parties to the fame, to the love Gatsby has for Daisy - it's all superficial. Not just for those living in America during the Roaring 20's. The unrestrained desire for money and pleasure surpassed more noble goals.
Gatsby’s dream is ruined by the unworthiness of its object, just as the American dream in the 1920s is ruined by the unworthiness of its object—money and pleasure. Like 1920s Americans in general, fruitlessly seeking a bygone era in which their dreams had value, Gatsby longs to re-create a vanished past—his time in Louisville with Daisy—but is incapable of doing so.




The book cover:
Francis Cugat’s painting for F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby is the most celebrated and widely disseminated jacket art in twentieth-century American literature, and perhaps of all time.
Under normal circumstances, the artist illustrates a scene or motif conceived by the author; he lifts, as it were, his image from a page of the book. In this instance, however, the artist’s image preceded the finished manuscript and Fitzgerald actually maintained that he had “written it into” his book. Cugat’s rendition is not illustrative, but symbolic, even iconic: the sad, hypnotic, heavily outlined eyes of a woman beam like headlights through a cobalt night sky. Their irises are transfigured into reclining female nudes. From one of the eyes streams a green luminescent tear; brightly rouged lips complete the sensual triangle. No nose or other discernible facial contours are introduced in this celestial visage; a few dark streaks across the sky (behind the title) suggest hairlines. Below, on earth, brightly colored carnival lights blaze before a metropolitan skyline.
It has been alleged that Fitzgerald’s symbolic billboard eyes of Dr. T. J. Eckleburg derived from Cugat’s jacket. Fitzgerald describes them as “blue and gigantic, their retinas are one yard high. They look out of no face, but, instead, from a pair of enormous yellow spectacles which pass over a nonexistent nose.”

Verdict on the book:
In conclusion, perhaps the message of the book is that wealth isn’t simply good. It hardly seems possible that criticism will exhaust the novel. The characters aren’t especially likeable, yet you are still fascinated by the mysterious Gatsby, because Nick is fascinated by him.




The Great Gatsby (2013)

The film has been receiving mixed reviews. It may be impossible to make a truly great adaptation of the book, but they did a pretty good job, though, especially with the production design. I think the genius of the novel is that we never see Gatsby, only from Nick's unreliable narration. For me, revealing Jay Gatsby in person, and explaining his past takes a lot of that vital mystery away. For that reason, maybe it is unfilmable.
Unfortunately, by displaying the characters in a one-dimensional way, and spelling out for us their problems, it means we are never really in doubt what to think of each character in the film. This is in contrast to the book, where the characters have a more unpredictable and enigmatic nature. I never really trusted the movie characters had a full life outside of the camera, while in the book it was more believable that things are happening elsewhere, even when Nick is not present.

I gave the new movie a 7/10

Other review outtakes:

According to Rodrigo Perez at The Playlist, ”the movie’s overblown style chokes the life out of any substance the story may have.” and ”With the sound off, Baz Luhrmann’s “The Great Gatsby” surely looks as radiant and extraordinary as some of the most dazzling movies ever committed to celluloid, but with the sound up and the experience on full volume, the movie is mostly a cacophony of style, excess and noise that makes you want to turn it all down a notch”

Sam Fragoso at moviemezzanine: "Unfortunately, Luhrmann doesn’t attempt to penetrate the hearts and minds of these people. Every character and every emotion is at arm’s length. At a distance, like the green light transplanted on the dock of the Buchanan mansion that, night after night, Gatsby becomes more and more obsessed with. For you see, the light radiating across the water is merely a mirage like the illusory and unattainable love Gatsby wishes to reclaim with Daisy."

Michael C at Serious Film:
“The fundamental problem is that Luhrmann tried to force Gatsby to his style, rather than adapt his bag of tricks to Gatsby. This method worked so well with Moulin Rouge because with that film the spectacle and the meaning were one and the same. When applied to Fitzgerald’s masterwork the result is a film that keeps the audience on the outside, admiring the fireworks from a distance.”

Bemis at cinevistaramascope:
The conventional reading is that the many bad things that happen by the story's end are a cynical comment on the essential emptiness of the excesses of Gatsby and his world; where Luhrmann departs, fascinatingly, is to treat this as a tragedy, a loss of innocence for Gatsby as well as his narrator. The movie celebrates Gatsby's essential optimism - it's done a little clumsily, and I'm not sure I agree with the interpretation, but it's a valid reading of the text that Luhrmann is able to support, and I honestly prefer a unique approach to the book that makes me raise an eyebrow to a reiteration of musty received wisdom.

Jared Mobarak:
“One could easily say the entire enterprise is overwrought and as excessive in its depiction of excess as its subject matter, but I believe that’s part of the appeal. We’re smothered by this world and this time just as the players fall victim to its promises.”

Leon Wieseltier, the literary editor of The New Republic, understands that we’re drawn back to “Gatsby” because we keep seeing modern buccaneers of banking and hedge funds, swathed in carelessness and opulence. “But what most people don’t understand is that the adjective ‘Great’ in the title was meant laconically,” he said. “There’s nothing genuinely great about Gatsby. He’s a poignant phony. Owing to the money-addled society we live in, people have lost the irony of Fitzgerald’s title. So the movies become complicit in the excessively materialistic culture that the novel set out to criticize.” (…) and that filmmakers “get seduced by the seductions that the book itself is warning about.”


Was my review useful? Any thoughts on The Great Gatsby book or movie? As always, share your opinions in the comments.


Sources:
The Great Gatsby / F. Scott Fitzgerald (1925)

F Scott Fitzgerald / Ruth Prigozy

sc.edu/fitzgerald

F. Scott Fitzgerald in His Own Time: A Miscellany, ed. Matthew J. Bruccoli and Jackson R. Bryer. Kent, OH: Kent State University Press, 1971. p. 265.

The Metaphor of History in the Work of F. Scott Fitzgerald. Author(s): V. M. Tolmatchoff, 1992

sparknotes

Nick Carraway as an Unreliable Narrator / Kent Cartwright (1984)

All men are [not] created equal: F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby / Claire Stocks (2007)

An overview of The Great Gatsby / Casie E. Hermanson

Gatsby and the pursuit of happiness / William Voegeli (2003)

Lost in Books: The Great Gatsby review

Movie:
The Playlist

cinevistaramascope

seriousfilm

moviemezzanine

Jared Mobarak

nytimes

pastemagazine

60 MINUTES interview The Great Gatsby

6 comments:

  1. It is a flawed film where some of editing could've been slowed down while there could've been less narration. Still, it's an amazing film that I think Luhrmann did where he allowed it to be excessive but also have that sense of disconnect. He also got a great cast to work with. I'm not surprised that it divided audiences. Luhrmann isn't for everyone which I think adds to his reputation as a filmmaker.

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    1. @thevoid99: I agree Luhrmann's film is flawed, yet it does some things right, as you say. It looks great as a spectacle and yes the excessiveness of the 20s was expressed well. But for me is too eager too explain the characters in a one-dimensional way, so that it lacks the mystery and elusiveness of the book.

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  2. Wow, impressive review Chris! I never read the book, but I'm interested in checking it out...simply to see how it compares to the movie (which I wasn't a fan of).

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    1. @Nostra: If you decide to read it, hope you like the novel! Recommended, and the good thing is, compared to other classics, The Great Gatsby is not a long book. Less than 200 pages.

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  3. Excellent review, Chris! I also read the novel for the first time earlier this year, and I loved it. I need to check out more of Fitzgerald's work.

    Yeah, the film isn't as good as the book, but I did enjoy it. 8/10 for me.

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    1. @Josh: Thank you! I didn't love the book, but I did like it. After writing this review, I could see myself re-reading it at some point :)
      Glad you enjoyed the movie, it really did divide critics.

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