Florence’s Films: The Great Gatsby

I’m going to preface this post by saying two things. Firstly I have never read F. Scott Fitzgerald’s ‘The Great Gatsby’ and secondly I am a huge fan of Baz Luhrmann’s films.

I went into the film expecting a lot from the production, the staging and the costumes but with really no idea of what the story was about. Even the trailers had failed to spell out more to me than that Gatsby was the central mysterious character, as instead I had concentrated on the effects.

I didn’t see it in 3D, but for me there was actually less digitalisation of the scenes that I expected, so don’t let that put you off going. Despite the trademark Luhrmann style, what really struck me was the story, quite the contrast to some reviews I had read that suggested the effects overwhelmed a classic.

I didn’t expect there to be such a love story, that I would feel sorry for Gatsby, despise Daisy, or see such vulnerability in the ‘Great’ Gatsby.

Of course, appropriate interpretation of classic literature or not, you can’t fault the costumes, the incredible party scenes (anybody else wishing they could throw a party like that?) those Tiffany jewels and the roaring twenties blown out of all proportion on the big screen.

I’m sure there are many among you who have read the book and I’d love to know what you thought of the film, good or bad, if you’re going or have been…


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16 thoughts on “Florence’s Films: The Great Gatsby

  1. One of my most favourite and loved books! I’m not sure I can allow myself to see the film as to me Robert Redford will always be Gastby!

  2. I went to see this on Monday after having speed-read the book over the weekend (I first read it when I was about 14 and couldn’t remember anything about the plot!). I actually thought the film stayed pretty close to the book and certainly the plot – a lot of the dialogue was verbatim from the book, and there were a couple of changes (there’s no sanatorium in the book so no background to the narration – I don’t think that’s a spoiler!) but nothing major I thought.

    The film is style over substance (well, it is Baz Luhrman), but then so is the book. And it looks amazing. We saw it in 2D but I think it would be good in 3D too – as you say the digitisation is not intrusive and it just looks gorgeous.

    I also enjoyed the music, it’s totally anachronistic but it is so blatant about it that the music does just sort of fit the spirit of excess of the story.

    (Disclaimer: I’ve never seen the Robert Redford version, maybe I would feel differently if I had!)

  3. I have read the book and am also a big fan of Baz Luhrmann ‘s films. We went to see the film on Sunday in 3D (not a huge 3D fan but they’re only showing it in 3D here). Absolutely loved it! Thought it stuck very closely with the book, the 3D stuff was subtle rather than those films where they add 3D effects because the rest of the film is so bad, even if you don’t like the story the film is visually stunning, and please will someone invite me to a party like that??? Oh and the clothes, the shoes, the jewels, the hair, the style, and the houses…..I think I was born in the wrong era 😉

    Loved it so much I’m going to see it again tomorrow at the only other showing here….then I’ll be eagerly waiting for it to come out on dvd. Will be buying the soundtrack too I think.


    Disclaimer: If you don’t like the twenties style, Baz Luhrmann’s style, or think that Moulin Rouge was over the top then you might not like it as much as me!

  4. Went to see this last night at The Electric in Notting Hill (best cinema ever) complete with fizz in a coupe glass (how else when watching this film?) and a cashmere blanket over my knees in my leather arm chair.

    I loved the book, I loved the Robert Redford version, I’m still holding out for Leo (“never let go”) and I LOVE Baz Lurhmann’s work so there was no question that I was going to love this version.

    I can see exactly why the critics panned it, but, for me, It was a brilliant modern, eccentric, re-telling of a great classic.

    Also, HOW GOOD was that soundtrack?

      • I am jealous, I’d love to be seeing it in the Electric cinema, but being 3000 miles away, Gold class in Dubai will come second-though sadly no alcohol! I’m off to see it this weekend, after unsuccessfully attempting to watch it last Saturday, when we were turned away as it was sold out. I loved the book and have loved Baz Luhrman’s work in the past, so I’m hoping I’ll enjoy it. x

  5. I am very very curious about this film. I haven’t read the book. I think I will try and read it first, but then again maybe this is one of those films that should be seen on the big screen?

    Anyhow, I wanted to link to an article I read about the Great Gatsby by Jacqueline (@thehourglassfiles). She is a fashion historian,and works in that field, so she knows what she’s talking about. Her impressions are based on the trailer not on the actual film though. To her : “the costumes are not period accurate. They all look like contemporary fashion interpreting 1920s Halloween costumes. The hair and makeup look like they’re from the present day. The architecture and interior design look much too contemporary to even pretend to be from the 20s. … As for the acting, I’m a bit let down by this first look. I imagined Leo with prohibition-like swagger, but I don’t see that here. And Carey Mulligan as Daisy Buchanan seemed like good casting to me, but she doesn’t seem to have to mastered Daisy’s charms. Hopefully it’s just that this trailer doesn’t capture the actors fully realizing their roles, instead of disappointing performances.”

  6. After reading too many bad reviews I don’t think I will be going to see it. I adore the book and I love what my mind conjured up whilst reading it. I am not a Luhrmann fan, even less so after watching him on Graham Norton and I just think that my little Gatsby bubble would be ruined. Whilst I have enjoyed looking at the stills because who doesn’t love a little bit of 20s glamour, the hype about it has pushed me over the edge and I now want nothing to do with Gatsby Fever.

  7. I went to see it over the weekend, and I like you had not read the book ad had no idea what it was all about. I liked it, I watched it in 3D which spoiled it a bit for me, so I might give it another go (might!). I loved the costumes, the whole vibe and I’m looking forward to reading the book to get into the story a bit further

  8. as a big fan of the book I was a bit annoyed with the sanotorium back story, I didn’t think it was needed. I’d probably agree with what little I know from fashion college that both the interiors (esp. Gatsby’s bedroom) and the costumes are more like modern interpretations. However I think in feel and characterisation it’s a good interpretation of the themes and concerns of the novel, and I really loved the film for what it was. And the soundtrack is, as others have said, amazing xx

  9. To be honest, I think all of Baz Luhrmann’s filma are best described and taken as a larger than life interpretation of the theme – and the costumes too. It’s not meant (I don’t think) to be a true representation of the period (as it couldn’t be with all his effects and styling) so the costumes fit the film, as they should. I suspect they wouldn’t have been anywhere near as OTT and fabulous if they were period accurate. Nothing else about the film is period accurate either apart from a loose interpretation…

    • Agreed. It is more how Baz Luhrmann sees the 20s in his “perfect imagination”. Like the soundtrack isn’t authentic 20s music, neither are the costumes and sets yet you get the 20s feel from all of it, just with a slightly more modern take….maybe how the 20s would look and sound if they happened now

  10. I loved the modern music over the 1920’s setting. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the story too as I knew nothing about it before going. How could you not enjoy the costumes and decadence of it all?!

  11. I read the book a few months ago and found it hard going at first. It took me a while to finish it, despite it being such a short book. I liked it in the end though and would probably enjoy it more a second time as I would be less confused at the start!
    Anyway, I really want to see the film, despite the bad reviews, for the spectacle of it and I do like Baz Luhrmann’s OTT style. We’ve planned to go twice now and still not made it! Maybe this weekend! 🙂

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