Gatsby? What Gatsby?

STORY BY Talia Aroshas

Published: May 28, 2013

“Gatsby? What Gatsby?”  Carey Mulligan’s Daisy of Baz Lurhman’s newest rendition of The Great Gatsby asks exasperatedly near the film’s beginning, as the name of Jay Gatsby is brought to her attention.  Shocked, shaken, and stirred, everything in regards to the two relationship is, more or less, instantaneously revealed in her eyes, although the others seem to caught up in their own fabulousity to notice. This happens amid a living room scene of nonsensical lounging and odd character interaction---much of what propels the entirety of the movie.

For those of you non-literary folk on the outside of this reference, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatbsy, goes something like this: Jay Gatsby and Daisy Buchanan are old lovers from a their more youthful years, as Gatsby was serving as a temporary gentleman in World War One. One fateful night, he happened upon Daisy in, well, crashing a party being thrown at her home. And although, short lived, their romance was passionate, alive, and seemingly unforgettable. The flames were doused, however, when Gatsby was to serve overseas and Daisy grew restless waiting even after his return—being that he stayed away from her, shameful of his poor means. Eventually she was swept away by the power and lure of the very rich, Tom Buchanan, and accepted his proposal, having heard no word from her beloved Gatsby since his return. However, it is on her very wedding day that Gatsby sends her a letter telling her to wait for him, telling her he loves her, and telling her they will be together. It is too late, however, and Daisy does her duties as a promised bride and carries on with the wedding, much against her hearts will.

The real story begins, however, as Gatsby moves across the water from Daisy and Tom of East Egg, Long Island--which is known for it’s splendiferous homes of old money. Now a bootlegging millionaire, Gatsby owns a mansion of his own in West Egg, which is otherwise referred to as “new money.” Next door to him lives Nick Carraway, cousin to Daisy and stoic narrator, who is entirely swept up in Gatsby’s mystery. In so much, he is just about willing to do anything for Gatsby and does so as he agrees to set up a rendezvous for the two ex-lovers who have not seen each other in 5 years.  What ensues is a dangerous rapture of love, lust, betrayal, and heartbreak—in the book, that is. In the movie it is a showy, gaudy, senseless, and yes, even boring drawn -out story of two-men in love with a selfish woman and the unfortunate sad boy who finds himself somewhere deep tangled into it.

I did fall asleep in this movie and I don’t feel sorry about that. I also don’t remember when I woke up, but I do know, when I did, that the same over-the-top cinematic expenditure was still going on, drowning the very dear love story that it was built upon.

As far as casting goes, its like this: Tobey Macguire as the destitute Nick Carraway gives the same bland, passable portrayal he usual gives in his unrelenting type cast, Carey Mulligan breathes much life to the film with her very multidimensional Daisy Buchanan, and Leonardo Dicaprio makes almost an irksome Gatsby on a level I haven’t yet decided works or not. 

Other Stories by Talia Aroshas
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