“The Great Gatsby” Book & Movie Review

Image Image

In 1998, senior year, my friend Stephanie and I chose to read and present “The Great Gatsby” to our English class. We passed out candy cigarettes/cigars and sparkling grape juice in plastic cocktail glasses, hung colorful balloons, and played jazz music. Clearly our focus was on the superficial party aspect of the novel. Regardless, from that moment on, I was a Fitzgerald fan. I’ve read “The Great Gatsby” several times over the years; most recently a few nights ago. After I closed the book, I said to my husband, “I don’t remember the book being so sad.” He replied, “It means different things during different times in your life. All great art allows you to relate to it as an observer. The meaning changes depending on what’s going on in your life.” I love his take on it!

I think Richard Roeper, a Sun-Times Columist says it beautifully as well:

“As is often the case with that other slim and brilliant American novel, “The Catcher in the Rye,” we are given the assignment of reading “The Great Gatsby” when we are too young to appreciate all that is happening, on the pages and between the lines. Read those books again when you’ve lived some life and felt some real pain, and it’s like you’re reading them for the first time.”

In a nut shell, I love the novel and I love the movie. The main difference is that in the movie, Nick Carraway tells the story (and ultimately writes it) of Gatsby to a psychiatrist during his stint in a mental asylum. In my opinion, this difference did not distract from the novel.

What I loved the most:

  1. Stunning Cinematography: Director Baz Luhrmann (Also directed “Romeo and Juliet” and “Moulin Rouge”) Over-the-top but brilliant. As the film progresses, the colors lose their brilliance, just as Gatsby’s hope of rekindling the past diminishes.
  1. Phenomenal Cast: Leonardo Di Caprio, Tobey Maguire, Carey Mulligan (My favorite part of the movie is when Gatsby sees Daisy for the first time in five years; for this is where he sheds the great Jay Gatsby persona and reverts back to James Gatz- an awkward but genuine boy from the Midwest.
  1. Gorgeous Soundtrack: Some of these songs tug at your heartstrings. In fact, as the credits rolled, the audience sat in silence for several seconds; as if all of us needed a moment to process the beautiful heartbreak of the film. (I believe it was the song “XX” by Together)

Here’s a sample:

Lana Del Rey’s “Young and Beautiful:”

“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?”


Beyonce feauturing Andre 3000: “Back to Black.” Remix of Amy Winehouse song. Super sexy, slowed down version.


Florence and the Machine “Over the Love”

“There’s a green light in my eyes and my lover on my mind”


The White Stripes “Love is Blindness” (cover of U 2 song)

“Love is blindness, I don’t wanna see.”


Sia “Kill and Run”

“My brain doesn’t want to silent call for you.”


For a track by track review, check out:


If you’re a fan of “The Great Gatsby,” I recommend the movie “Midnight in Paris”

Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=atLg2wQQxvU


My 100 Favorite Movies (In no particular order)

  1. LegendsLegends of the Fall
  2. ShutterIsland
  3. Inception
  4. The Shawshank Redemption
  5. The Hunger Games
  6. Fight Club
  7. The Departed
  8. Gran Torino
  9. Silence of the Lambs
  10. Good Will Hunting
  11. Gone With the Wind
  12. Breakfast at Tiffany’s
  13. Million Dollar Baby
  14. Black Swan
  15. Groundhog Day
  16. The Princess Bride
  17. Slumdog Millionaire
  18. A Beautiful Mind
  19. District 9
  20. The Truman Show
  21. Pulp Fiction
  22. The Sixth Sense
  23. Gladiator
  24. Training Day
  25. Book of Eli
  26. Dark Knight
  27. Braveheart
  28. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
  29. Little Miss Sunshine
  30. The Cabin in the Woods
  31. Safety Not Guaranteed
  32. Adaptation
  33. Another Earth
  34. Sound of My Voice
  35. Children of Men
  36. Seeking a Friend for the End of the World
  37. Perfect Sense
  38. In Time
  39. Looper
  40. Seven Psychopaths
  41. Lost in Translation
  42. Midnight in Paris
  43. Moneyball
  44. Office Space
  45. Seven
  46. Sideways
  47. Psycho
  48. Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
  49. Dirty Dancing
  50. The Crow
  51. Juno
  52. Interview With the Vampire
  53. Unbreakable
  54. Say Anything
  55. The Lost Boys
  56. American Psycho
  57. Jerry McGuire
  58. Remember the Titans
  59. V For Vendetta
  60. Heathers
  61. Meet Joe Black
  62. Zodiac
  63. The Breakfast Club
  64. Fried Green Tomatoes
  65. 300
  66. Titanic
  67. Grease
  68. American History X
  69. The Virgin Suicides
  70. Forrest Gump
  71. Romeo & Juliet
  72. Before Sunrise
  73. As Good As It Gets
  74. American Beauty
  75. When Harry Met Sally
  76. To Kill A Mockingbird
  77. The Birds
  78. Cider House Rules
  79. Never Let Me Go
  80. Great Expectations
  81. House of Sand and Fog
  82. Remember the Titans
  83. ColdMountain
  84. Saving Private Ryan
  85. Blue Valentine
  86. Lars and the Real Girl
  87. BrokebackMountain
  88. Wall-E
  89. Magnolia
  90. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
  91. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
  92. The Lord of the Rings: The TwoTowers
  93. Misery
  94. Up in the Air
  95. Dan In Real Life
  96. Pay It Forward
  97. Taken
  98. MysticRiver
  99. Wedding Crashers
  100. Schindler’s List

The Words

the-words-posterThe Words

“You have to choose between life and fiction. The two are very close but they never actually touch. They are two very, very different things.”

The Words is a 2012 film directed and written by Brian Klugman and Lee Sternthal. It stars Bradley Cooper, Dennis Quaid, Zoe Saldana, Olivia Wilde, Jeremy Irons, Ben Barnes, and Nora Arnezeder. Overall this movie received negative reviews but I really enjoyed it. It’s definitely worth watching.

The moviebegins with famous author Clayton (Dennis Quaid) reading his novel The Words. The novel is about Rory, a starving artist (Bradley Cooper) and his teacher girlfriend Dora (Zoe Saldana). They’re happy but struggling to get by in New York City. At first, Rory is passionate, burning the candle at both ends in order to finish his novel. But after countless rejections, he accepts a job as a mail supervisor and settles for a life of mediocrity. Instead of writing, he takes naps and watches TV because it’s so much easier. I think most artists from painters to photographers to musicians to writers struggle with this (at least from time to time).

Rory and Dora honeymoon in Paris where Dora purchases a weathered briefcase in an antique store as a gift for Rory. He discovers a hidden manuscript that blows him away. He types the manuscript and saves it on his laptop. After Dora discovers and reads it, she persuades him to meet with an agent. She doesn’t know that Rory isn’t the author. The novel is hugely successful…until Rory meets an old man who is the real author. The old man tells Rory that the manuscript ruined his marriage. He says, “I loved the words more than the woman I was writing them for!” Rory’s life also unravels as he has to face the consequences of his mistake.

I won’t spoil the ending but I will say that it’s open to interpretation.