The Great Gatsby Movie Review
Kidzworld’s take on the lavish film “The Great Gatsby” based on a classic novel
By: Lynn Barker
Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire) is obsessed with telling the story of his mysterious friend Jay Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio) who is uber-obsessed with Nick’s cousin Daisy Buchanan (Carey Mulligan) who is unhappily married to Tom Buchanan (Joel Edgerton) who is fooling around on the side with Myrtle Wilson (Isla Fisher). Throw all this into the party-hearty, roaring 1920’s era and you’ve got a recipe for disaster!
Nick Hits Long Island
It’s summer, 1922 and young Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire), a Yale grad and WWI vet, moves from the Midwest U.S. to NYC to be a bond salesman in the booming stock market. Nick rents a cottage on Long island right next door to the overly-posh mansion of mysterious Jay Gatsby (Leo DeCaprio) who really knows how to party down…every weekend!
Across the Bay
Nick’s rich cousin Daisy (Cary Mulligan) lives directly across the bay with her old-money, racist and playboy hubby Tom who knows Nick from Yale. At their home, Nick meets sporty golf pro Jordan Baker who both scares and attracts him. A dinner party goes sour when Tom receives a call from his mistress Myrtle Wilson (Isla Fisher).
Into the Big City
Tom takes Nick to a wild party with Myrtle and her galpals in NYC. It turns nasty when Tom hits Myrtle for even daring to speak his wife Daisy’s name. After recovering from his party hangover, Nick finally gets an invite to one of Gatsby’s famous parties next door. People just show up uninvited week after week. Nick meets Gatsby and the two guys hit it off as pals. Nick soon learns that Gatsby is involved with some notorious gangsters.
Daisy Past and Present
Nick learns that Daisy and Jay Gatsby were together before the war. He was penniless but had courted the rich Daisy and fallen madly in love with her. Gatsby had to go to war then, briefly to college. Daisy got tired of waiting and, under her parents’ pressure, married rich Tom Buchanan (Joel Edgerton) breaking Gatsby’s heart and setting him on an obsessed mission to obtain enough wealth to win Daisy back. Thus the big house, lavish parties and “iffy”, shady income.
Tea and Consequences
After Daisy is lured to Nick’s cottage for tea, a set-up to reunite her with Gatsby, the two rekindle their affair. Gatsby is sure Daisy will tell Tom that she is leaving him but she chickens out and she, Gatsby, Nick, Jordan and Tom head into Manhattan for some uneasy fun. On the way, they stop at Wilson’s garage where Tom learns that his mistress Myrtle has been locked upstairs by her husband for having a “mystery lover”.
Blow Up at the Plaza
At NYC's posh Plaza Hotel, the uneasy group falls apart as Gatsby and Tom argue over Daisy. Gatsby wants her to tell Tom she never loved him and she’s leaving him. Tom reminds her of the fun they had. Confused and desperate, Daisy can’t make a decision and just wants to go home. On the way home, Gatsby and Daisy are in one car, Tom, Nick and Jordan in the other. Passing through the poor part of town, Gatsby’s car runs over Myrtle who has escaped, recognizes the car and runs in front of it trying to flag it down.
The Final Chapters
Tom sees that his mistress is dead and convinces her hubby that Jay Gatsby was both her lover and killed her. We learn that Daisy was actually driving. Tom packs Daisy up and leaves town. Nick tries to convince Gatsby to do the same but he stubbornly believes that Daisy will call him for help. Relaxing at his pool, he is shot and killed by Myrtle’s jealous husband. Nick arranges a funeral but nobody comes. In death, Gatsby takes the wrap for Daisy. Disillusioned by all the people and places that once attracted him, Nick leaves the big city.
From the detailed costumes to the opulent mansions and cars, The Great Gatsby looks amazing. 3-D is “pretty” but I don’t think it’s needed. I feel that the occasional modern music (Jay-Z etc.) used in the movie reflects what is happening. A party track is a party track whether in 1920 or 2013.
The cast is really well-chosen. Leo portrays both cocky and nervous/desperate Gatsby to a tee. Tobey’s big blue eyes are popping as he/Nick witnesses all the decadence around him and gets swept up in it. Carey Mulligan nails Daisy’s selfish longing and Joel Edgerton is great as brutish hubby Tom.
The film follows the famous novel quite closely. It only combines incidents to shorten the story to movie-length. The timeless story really relates to today when so many are after wealth and status to the point of obsession. Gatsby followed the American Dream down the darkest of paths in the name of love.
The Great Gatsby will entertain teens more than younger audience members. It’s almost 2 and a half hours long but is a pretty close adaptation of the book. Some critics have called it the “Cliff’s Notes” version of the great novel but the straight-forward story will be more suited to teens than a “deeper” version. Certainly worth a trip to the multi-plex. For the sheer amazing look of the film alone, we’ll go 4 stars
The Great Gatsby Movie Rating: