Sunday, May 12, 2013

'Gatsby' a visual feast for lovers of the 1920s

Last night I saw The Great Gatsby in the theater for the first time (and probably not the last -- I am fully intending to see it a couple more times before it leaves theaters).  I have been stalking this movie for almost a year, watching the previews repeatedly and devouring all the new photos as they've popped up online -- I was devastated when they pushed back its release from December 2012 to May 2013.  An extra six months to wait!  Inconceivable!

I even read a review before going to see the movie, something I don't usually do:

Loving 'Gatsby' Too Much And Not Enough

I skipped over a review in our local paper because it sounded negative even from just the headline, but I read this one -- on NPR -- because it seemed like it was from a more literary standpoint.  This review actually likes the excess of the movie as an attempt to recall the era, but thought that it was a little disjointed with the story at times.  I actually agree, especially with what the reviewer has to say about the voice-over narration with the words appearing on-screen.

The love story is also played up to an astonishing degree, to anyone who knows the book.  The book is less of a love story and more of a commentary on the excess of the era and the selfish actions of those who embodied it.  But I guess one of the amazing things about Fitzgerald's book was his use of subtlety -- so many of the connections that the movie has to actively highlight are actually just implied in the book.  Not sure how you would accomplish that in a movie -- I don't think there really is a way to translate Fitzgerald's spare prose into a movie, so I understand (and, for the most part, like) the way the director did things.

Of course, what I loved best about the movie -- and what anyone who loves the 20s will probably agree with me about -- were the costumes.  And, ohmygod, the hats.  I love 1920s hats, and there were some really fantastic examples in this movie.  Daisy's dresses are also divine -- I particularly love the purple one, and the one she's wearing in the last big scenes with the big bow and the handkerchief hem.

Other 20s fans: Have you seen The Great Gatsby yet?  What were your reactions -- both to the movie and to the portrayal of the era?

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