“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.” These words end the glamorous yet beautifully tragic book and new movie, The Great Gatsby. I have seen Gatsby twice at this point, and I am in love with its glittering depiction of the roaring ’20s as well as its infatuated and tragic romanticism. The Great Gatsby is the epitome of the great American novel written by F. Scott Fitzgerald in 1925. The story is told by Nick Carraway, a Midwestern-born man who moves to West Egg in New York. Nick lives in a small, shack sort of home next to a veritable palace, owned by Jay Gatsby. Nick narrates the tale of Jay Gatsby and his infatuation with his love interest of five years, Daisy Buchanan. The story tells of Gatsby and Daisy’s forbidden love, and of a man who built his life from the ground up, fulfilling the American Dream, who believed that anything is possible in love. He believed in a love that could not be, and this was the death of him.
Words, in this case, cannot suffice to say how truly magical this movie is. So often when I go to the movies I am overly excited to see a movie that cannot live up to my expectations. I had hoped Gatsby would be good, but I was unsure of how it would be managed. When the movie ended, I was genuinely sad as well as equally infatuated with it. I have never had a love affair with a movie such as this. I have loved movies in the past, but none can match the astonishing level of magic and imagination and glamour and romanticism as this. I have never witnessed anything quite as beautiful as this, cinematically speaking.
Let me explain. What makes this movie so great is the well-thought out aspects that contribute to the bigger picture, as well as the major things, like acting, were also really good. The sets in this movie were beautiful and over the top. Gatsby’s mansion was most likely CGI, but it was still beautiful. The party scenes at Gatsby’s were also very elaborate. Aside from the sets, the costumes were gorgeous. I was in awe with whatever Daisy (Carey Mulligan) was wearing. In particular, there was a lavender dress she wore and a champagne colored dress with crystals all over the outside. Both were absolutely stunning (and by Prada, I might add). Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio) also had some very gentlemanly outfits. The standouts for me where a white suit with a golden tie and a light pink suit with a light pink and burgundy striped tie. Another cool element to this movie was the music. I have never heard anything like this in a page-to-screen film. The music is much more hip-hop than anything, which is no surprise considering Jay-Z produced the soundtrack. Hands-down the standout song was “Young and Beautiful” by Lana Del Ray. I should mention I do not particularly like Lana Del Ray’s music. However, when I heard this song in the movie it fight so perfectly and made the movie so much more emotional. “Will you still love me when I’m no longer young and beautiful/ Will you still love me when I got nothing but my aching soul/ I know you will” the song goes. It just has such a unique message; Will you love me for me, forever? Will you love me in my darkest moments? I know you will. How powerful. The best way I can describe what this song was like in the movie is by saying that it was like the song “When She Loved Me” from Toy Story 2. It stirred that kind of uneasiness in me. It made me uneasy because of its hauntingly romantic power, however you know in the end that kind of love cannot be.
The acting was also great. Leo so deserves that elusive Oscar for his part as Jay Gatsby. I cannot imagine anyone else playing Gatsby as greatly as he did, honestly. The most surprising actor for me was Carey Mulligan. I have never see her in a movie before, and she was such a great Daisy. She nailed it. Tobey Maguire was also very good as Nick Carraway. Leo and Tobey have been friends for quite some time, and that chemistry could be seen in the movie.
This movie is so luxurious and indulgent, but underneath the beautiful façade is a truly tragic love story. The story of a love so strong, yet so confused. Gatsby so loves Daisy. He said he felt “wed to her” in his heart. However, Daisy is married to another man, yet she loves Gatsby as well, but she also loves her husband. Mr. Gatsby’s story ends in his murder. He never does get the chance to give Daisy the life he had planned for her and himself. His story is so powerful, so captivating, yet so unfortunate. In this life, people so often chase the dream of a never-ending love. Sadly, a good amount of people end up settling because of the ever-fleeting concept of time. The biggest lesson Gatsby teaches is that we should not settle for a life that we do not want because of time, money, or the like. In a way, I think a lot of women want a Gatsby. A gentleman, who is willing to give the love of his life everything he can, and all he expects in return is her love. However, Gatsby’s fatal flaw was his belief in the past. He believed that one could recreate the past, so much so that he was chasing a memory in Daisy. He loved her as much as he had before, but she had changed. He was in love with the way things were before, and was trying to erase the present circumstances so as to race back into the past. After Gatsby’s death Nick concludes his account of one Mr. Jay Gatsby by saying,” So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”