Thursday, September 5, 2013

The Great Gatsby: My Love for the Book, 1920’s Fashion, & Movie Review!

Ciao old sports! (Gatsby reference..ha),
        I have been wanting to write about my love for all things “Great Gatsby” related on here for a long time (it’s been on my blog to-do list for years, before the new movie came out).  One day I’d love to have a Gatsby themed party where everyone dressed up in their best 1920’s fashion and I would decorate in a very elaborate, sparkling, and spectacular, Jay Gatsby-party style.  (Definitely adding that to my life to-do list.)   
The Book!: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald 
        Have you read the book?  If not stop everything and do so right now!! (Really…you should…ha)  I have always loved the book, ever since I first read it in the eighth grade (or ninth?).  Fitzgerald’s fascinating and frustrating characters, the intriguing story and dialogue, the excitement of the time period, the almost love story, the fashion of the time, Fitzgerald’s bewitching and constant symbolism, and more have all made the book one of my favorites.  The tale of how the intriguing and shady character of Gatsby takes his life from having nothing to having almost everything he ever could have dreamed, except Daisy of course, is enthralling.  I have also always felt a strange connection to Jay Gatsby in the way that he always wants what he doesn’t yet or can’t have, particularly with his love interest, Daisy.  He obsesses over her and does whatever he can to make his life the way in which he thinks will make him worthy of her, to entice her.  Until about 2 years ago, I always wanted boys I couldn’t have for whatever reason (they had girlfriends, or I was too shy to talk to them, etc.) and I would obsess over whichever one I currently had my eye on.  I’d write stories about him or imagine what if I stopped being so shy and talked to him or write his name in my notebook over and over again (elementary school..ha!).  It’s similar to Gatsby, but on a smaller scale.  He changes his entire life because of an obsession with Daisy and his desire to have her again.  He throws elaborate parties every weekend with the hope that one day she will show up and be impressed, drawn in by the glitter and shine of his money and power.  Both of us however were not in love.  It’s obsession and fascination and fixation..not love.  I could go on about it forever, but I’ll spare you all…for now.  I have written at least 4 different papers for school at different points/for different classes on the book.  I always find something else to analyze and write about. (I’ll be posting some soon.)  The characterization or lack thereof of Daisy, the is it a love story or just a rags to riches story debate, a character study of Jay Gatsby or Nick Carraway, both wonderful characters; all of these things make the book a fascinating one for me and many others for decades.        
The Movie: Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby (A Review & A Comparison with the Novel)
        I was super excited from the moment I heard about this movie, months before it was set to be released.  I love seeing movie adaptations od books I’ve read.  The interesting thing about them is that you get to see what the book looks like in someone else’s head and compare and contrast i t with your personal vision, which is also why so many people often bicker about how a movie based on a book should be.  I was not particularly fond of Leonardo DiCaprio as Jay Gatsby when I first saw the promos for the movie, but only because I had always envisioned him as darker and more mysterious looking (if that makes sense…or I just thought he’d have dark hair), maybe because of his shady nature.  After seeing the movie though, I think he did a really good job portraying Fitzgerald’s most infamous character.  He made Gatsby very likeable, but still pretty true to Fitzgerald's character.  As a girl who loves glitz and glamour, I was in love with the elaborate sets and costumes and party sequences in the film.  The director and producer, Baz Luhrmann, is known for his love for the elaborate and spectacular.  I adore his films: Moulin Rougue and Romeo & Juilet, both full of fascinating moments and spectacles.  Some people thought the over-elaboration might distract from the detail and subtleness of parts of Fitzgerald’s story.  I don’t think that was the case.  If you want that, you should read the book.  Then, you should see the movie for more of an elaborate and fascinating effect and to compare of course. 
        I loved the party scenes(click, watch one!) at Gatsby’s house.  They were everything you could have imagined they would be when reading the book, multiplied by 10!  They show the elaborate and glittering lifestyle Gatsby worked for to impress Daisy, as well as the shallowness of his goals.  I adore his mansion.  It was magical and breathtaking.  I just might be tempted to love a man for that kind of house (hah! kidding of course!)  See, it’s amazing!
I loved the scene with Daisy and Gatsby in his closet…I never thought a man would have such an enviable closet, but he did.  The house deteriorates towards the end of the movie, as do Gatsby’s dreams, the man himself, and the façade that riches make you happy.  I also actually liked that the director did not stick to the book exactly, but instead drew from Fitzgerald’s life and other works as well.  One difference I’m not sure if I liked or not was the way Nick Carraway seems to feel about Gatsby.  In both the film and the novel, he is in awe of Gatsby in the beginning, fascinated by him and looks up to him for a while.  In the novel, Nick becomes jaded and eventually disgusted by Gatsby, Daisy, Tom, and their entire way of life and the Eastern U.S.  This seems to occur in the movie as well, but not so much with Gatsby.  He seems too fooled by his act and a fan of him even after death.  A key part of the novel, Nick’s unreliability as narrator is something that does make the novel a tiny bit “unfilmable” as many scholars have claimed.  It was interesting how Luhrmann seems to address this by framing the film with scenes of Nick writing about Gatsby in a sanitarium.  It helps but a book can never entirely be adapted to a film and be exact.  You just have to use your imagination and take it for what it is: an adaptation.  I did love Tobey Maguire as Nick.  Maybe just because he’s cute and loveable..ha. 

        Another interesting portrayal was that of Carey Mulligan as Daisy Buchanan.  Daisy has often been a hated character for her lack of decisiveness, morals, and personality.  She is somewhat likeable in the “poor sad shallow rich girl” kind of way…ha.  Carey does a pretty great job at bringing Daisy to life in my opinion.  She conveyed the sad trapped girl who is still enticing enough to catch Gatsby and Tom’s attention with her fragile beauty and personality.  One of the last aspects of the movie I loved was the soundtrack.  Jay-Z produced it and did and awesome job if you ask me.  The scenes were lit up even more with the jazzy 1920’s inspired yet modern and some hip-hop infused songs.   The party scenes were enhanced with the beats of songs like “A Little Party ever Killed Nobody” by Fergie (one of my favorites).  I absolutely adored Lana Del Ray’s song “Young and Beautiful” in this film.  She hauntingly asks “Will you still love me when I’m no longer young and beautiful?”.  The lyric perfectly sums up Daisy and Gatsby’s fragile and superficial relationship, with the depressing answer being obvious…No.  I love the song anyway.
        In conclusion, I highly recommend the book if you’ve never read it (or if you have…I’ve read it quite a few times).  it’s beautifully written and a fascinating and compelling tale.  After that, I would recommend seeing this film adaptation.  It’s a beautiful and amazingly visually appealing film that captures the essence of Fitzgerald's story in a unique way.  The sets, music, costumes, and even the interesting use of 3D made the film captivating along with Fitzgerald’s words and well known characters.  The scene where Daisy and Gatsby awkwardly reunite after years of being apart was a favorite of mine.  It was real and believable as well as slightly comical and romantic.  The Great Gatsby is the world’s best, most beautifully written, worst love story.  If you know what I mean…ha!  Read the book and/or see the film and hopefully you’ll get it.  Winking smile
Also check out these few interesting articles on the film.  I agree with some things and not others but they’re all interesting points to read. 
The Fashion: 1920’s Style
         I love the glamorous style of the 1920’s, particularly the flapper girl, with her elaborate headpieces, jewelry and fringed and beaded dresses.  I would die for one of the gorgeous Tiffany designed headpieces Daisy wore in the film.  I love the way men dressed at that time as well.  Always dressed to the nines in a suit and tie, often in varying patterns and colors (the rich men in Gatsby’s world at least…lol).  DiCaprio’s Gatsby looked pretty damn good in all his suits, I must say.  Anyway, of course, I had to use going to see this move as an excuse to dress up in my best flapper girl outfit.  What do you think?  I curled and tucked my hair under to create that short hair look that was popular then.  As always I have a ton of pictures and couldn’t choose so I added bunches…enjoy!  I played with some editing stuff too to make some pictures have an old looking effect.  

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I went to see the movie with my boyfriend of course. Smile
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                                                                                 ♥♥ Xoxo Gabriella

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