The Great Gatsby: Skip the book, watch the movie

The Great Gatsby was one of those books on my to-read list that I never read, so I cannot say if the movie follows the novel’s story line, but I can say, the movie is well executed with great performances by Leonardo DiCaprio (Jay Gatsby), his friend and Daisy’s cousin Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire), Daisy (Carey Mulligan), Daisy’s husband (Joel Edgerton ) and the mistress (Isla Fisher).

Simply put, the story is a love triangle. Gatsby loves Daisy, but Daisy is married to Tom. The story’s narrator, Nick, just happens to be Daisy’s cousin and Gatsby’s neighbor — so he is pulled into the plot to solve the problem.

From the onset, you figure out that at the very least, Gatsby is a troubled soul. He is mysterious and aloof, throws outlandish parties and has fabricated a personal history that enthralls everyone — although no one really knows him. The story is told through the eyes of his neighbor Nick, a midwestern war veteran who find a servant home nestled among all the Long Island mansions of the newly rich. When Nick receives a personal invitation to one of Gatsby’s party — their friendship blossoms.

Gatsby’s pain — and parties — are centered around the ever elusive Daisy Buchanan — the young love he met as a soldier, but was unable to wed because of Gatsby’s overwhelming need to be wealthy. Gatsby asks Daisy to wait while he created his wealth, but Daisy does not and marries Tom Buchanan — with ‘old money’ instead. Unfortunately for Daisy, her husband is involved with many women, including a mistress he rents an apartment with in the city.

When Gatsby finally arranges a meeting with Daisy and woos her back, he has only one — albeit — odd request. Daisy need to tell her husband that she never loved him — something Daisy cannot do. Because, although they have fallen out of love, she cannot change the past — the time when she did love Tom.

Gatsby spirals out of control with Daisy refusal to tell her husband (at the forced meeting arranged for Gatsby). In the ensuing drive home — in which Daisy’s husband asks Gatsby to drive Daisy home — Daisy accidently strike’s her husband’s mistress with the vehicle killing her. Stories are revised and lies are told — and the accident is eventually blamed on an unknowing Gatsby.

But it is not the police or the crime that seals his fate — it is a misguided and grieving lover.

Rating: 5 out of 5

Great performances, excellent sound track, intriguing story filmed in a compelling way.

Categories: American History, movies

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