The fact that I did not enjoy reading The Great Gatsby is irrelevant to the fact that I hated the movie. Though I didn’t enjoy the content of the book, I respect Fitzgerald. I respect the honesty that is reflected in his writing style. I respect the depiction of the era in which The Great Gatsby took place. This movie is an unbelievably terrible attempt at bringing this book on screen. The major insights made in the book don’t even have references made to them in the movie. The viewer never truly gets the feeling that he or she is in Nick’s head nor would the viewer understand the complexity of Daisy and Gatsby’s relationship had the viewer not read the book.
The primary flaw with the movie is the unrealistic dialogue. Despite the cast of highly acclaimed actors, each conversation seemed staged and unnatural. Daisy’s frequent expressions were almost comical, as were the scenes that Tom was supposed to be in a rage. It truly was almost painful to watch parts of this movie.
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The movie also lacked a deeper meaning. The clearest theme that the movie presented was that of how money cannot buy happiness. Other important themes, like the difficulty with confronting the truth, or the disillusion of the times, were poorly represented. I concluded the reason being was because these themes were explored within the mind of Nick. In the book, Nick is a slightly dull bystander, who happens to fall into the world of these crazed lovers. But Nick is the reader’s link to the truth. He is able to see things and make sense of them for the reader. The movie does not create such a character for Nick. He is much too boring to focus on, considering Robert Redford plays opposite him as Gatsby. Redford’s good looks and far more interesting character are a much more profitable investment. Therefore the viewer is robbed of the many 1920 ideals explored by Fitzgerald.
In all honesty, our group could not even bring ourselves to finishing the movie. The movie droned on and on, and we had a lot of other things to do. Even though I said I did not enjoy the content of this book, I value the many lessons it attempted to relay to the reader. Lessons like the ease of becoming disillusioned with love and money, the dangers of conforming to what others deem as appropriate, or failing to appreciate the natural and good amenities of life. The movie totally fails to teach any of those things. Considering that I did not like the storyline, watching the movie was a complete waste of time for it did not show the few things I did like.
As a general rule, though, there is no comparison between a novel and its film. When reading, it is the reader that decides which theme is most important, and it is the reader’s insight that makes the book interesting. When one watches a movie, all of that is decided for the viewer, and the entire thought process is no longer pertinent. So, READ THE BOOK!
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