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The writings of author, therapist, and priest Robert Warren Cromey.

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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

GATSBY -SPLASH, TRASHY, OPERA


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

We saw the movie The Great Gatsby yesterday afternoon. It was in 3-D thus we wore glasses over our glasses. It has loud, boisterous parties in several scenes that seem to last forever. They are garish, noisy and gaudy. David Denby of The New Yorker said of the writer-director, Luhrman is “less a film maker than a music-video director with endless resources and a stunning lack of taste.” In the party scenes the director “confuses turmoil with style.”

However, the story stays fairly close to F. Scott Fitzgerald’s story line in the novel about Gatsby.  Leonardo DiCaprio plays Gatsby in a thoughtful and convincing way. He is vulnerable chasing a dream that makes him, at heart, weak. He is in love with a vision of the past, a woman that he can never have. In a larger sense it is the American dream of progress and glory, which no one can achieve but only strive for. The acting is very good and believable.

It is a movie very worth seeing. The costumes and sets are the 1920’s. The movie is entertaining and moving. The quiet moody music is enchanting. The party music is so loud and words unbearable, it must be popular.

The moral vision is that we must keep going onward and upward no matter what. The means of illegal drugs and alcohol justify the ends of riches, glamour and even love. The evil nature of the human condition is touched on by hints of poverty, degradation of women and carelessness of human life by reckless driving. But Fitzgerald and the film writers really don’t believe in sin or evil as part of human nature. They have hope that the good will prevail. I think that life is lived best when we acknowledge the depths of our evil and the fullness of our joy and live in a balance between the two.

Gatsby is a “splashy, trashy, opera” that shows an empty seeking of pleasure and love amidst an entertaining, sometimes funny, romp in the 1920s.


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Hey Robert,

Teaching Gatsby every year, always finding new things in it, and of course thinking a great deal about it, I decided I didn't like this latest movie before I saw it. My students demanded I see it, and here are my thoughts: I've seen three of the four attempts at making the book into the movie, and they have failed to capture the book's spirit, characters, it's essence. This latest one, though, after thinking about it for a week or so (the best way to see movies or read books), I realized that making an over the top, psychedelic, surreal film based on the book was the only way to go for the film makers. this is a book that cannot be made into a movie, but, given the twenties in NY were over the top, were a crazy unrealistic time, that would be the only way to deal with the movie. The movie is not the book, but it's great fun and a spectacle to watch (my kids loved it, hated the 3-D though). No one will ever capture the book, and this film seems to admit that. Toby McGuire stunk up the place, and the character of Tom was completely miscast, but, like you said, it's a romp. But it ain't the book - even my Juniors from Richmond saw that.

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