Sunday, May 26, 2013

The Great Gatsby

Helsinki, 18 degrees


He smiled understandingly-much more than understandingly. It was one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it, that you may come across four or five times in life. It faced--or seemed to face--the whole external world for an instant, and then concentrated on you with an irresistible prejudice in your favor. It understood you just as far as you wanted to be understood, believed in you as you would like to believe in yourself.

I just remembered that I still hadn't shared with you my thoughts on the Great Gatsby, the movie that I had been waiting for the most this year! But this movie was definitely worth the wait, I must say that it quickly became one of my all time favorites! One of its wonderful features is its superb soundtrack! To get you into the right mood, here are my three favorite songs from it: Lana Del Rey's Young and Beautiful, Florence + the Machine's Over the Love and Sia's Kill and Run. I will also go into the themes of the movie that stuck with me, so if you haven't seen the movie, see it first, and then read this blog post! Enjoy!

First of all, I have to mentioned how thrilled I was that Helsinki got a mention in the movie, did you notice? When Gatsby talked about his past, he said: "After that I lived like a young rajah in all the capitals of Europe — Paris, Venice, Rome — collecting jewels, chiefly rubies, hunting big game, painting a little, thingAnnotates for myself only, and trying to forget something very sad that had happened to me long ago.” Since the director Baz Luhrmann  has been to Helsinki, he added Helsinki to the capital listing of Europe (with Paris and Rome!) - how cool is that?


Second, I have to emphasize that this is a very visual movie with lots of eye candy. However, it starts out light, but gets darker and darker. In the end this is a very intense movie. I haven't read the book or seen the earlier movie version of the Great Gatsby, but now inspired, I think I'll do both this summer.

Having said this, this version of the Great Gatsby brought five themes to my mind. I'll combine the themes with movie clips of the scenes in the movies and quotes from the original book by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Love

The Great Gatsby got me thinking about what loves makes us do and how far we are ready to go for love. At its best, love gives us energy and passion. Nothing can stop a person in love. If there is will, there is a way, they say. In Gatsby's case, there is such intense love that it becomes disordered.

The worst kind of love however is one-sided, which the movie showcased very well. When people live in the illusion of love, they are ready to do whatever to uphold the illusion since the truth hurts too much.

"There must have been moments even that afternoon when Daisy tumbled short of his dreams--not through her own fault but because of the colossal vitality of his illusion. It had gone beyond her, beyond everything. He had thrown himself into it with a creative passion."
- F. Scott Fitzgerald

"He wanted to recover something, some idea of himself perhaps, that had gone into loving Daisy. His life had been confused and disordered since then, but if he could once return to a certain starting place and go over it all slowly, he could find out what that thing was."
- F. Scott Fitzgerald

"He knew that when he kissed this girl, and forever wed his unutterable visions to her perishable breath, his mind would never romp again like the mind of God. So he waited, listening for a moment longer to the tuning-fork that had been struck upon a star. Then he kissed her. At his lips' touch she blossomed for him like a flower and the incarnation was complete."
- F. Scott Fitzgerald

Vanity & appearance

This movie emphasized appearance and looking cool with fancy houses and clothes. As I've mentioned in earlier blog posts, I'm fascinated with people who look and act a certain way, but are something else. I'm intrigued with seeing through people's appearances. I believe everyone gards some secrets, and I adored the way this was brought into light in the movie. I actually enjoyed the portray of people joining in on Gatsby's parties and then not turning up for his funeral. Isn't that how life goes? We strive our whole lives to find the right persons that are worth our love, but only once we're gone or we meet hardship, we truly know who those people are. 

I loved how the movie made us anticipate for meeting Gatsby. I love strong personas, so this was right up my alley. I've always been allured by the fact that the more one hears about a person beforehand, the more one starts to create on one's own a personality for that person. When one actually gets to meet that person, the preconseptions hardly ever match the truth. Sometimes I wonder if we rather like the idea of people, or actual people.

Even though I've heard that the book actually criticizes the vanity of the society, I think the beauty of the film is something to cherish. Since it is a Hollywood movie, I absolutely adored all the costumes, and I didn't mind at all that Leonardo had at least seven different suits in the movie!

"It makes me sad because I've never seen such - such beautiful shirts before."
- F. Scott Fitzgerald 

I'm sad though that money (Tom and Daisy) prevailed in this movie, but I guess the biggest punishment or misfortune is to live aside each other in a loveless marriage.

"They were careless people, Tom and Daisy--they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money of their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made."
- F. Scott Fitzgerald


Our pasts & future

I loved Gatsby's sense of hopefulness. We all need a little of that. Nothing can even change our pasts so we just have to make the best out of it. Why is it that we always are ashamed of our pasts? This is something each of us have to go through in life. Only as adults, we learn to appreciate the past we've had, since it has formed us into the persons we are today. I personally prefer people with colorful pasts since I believe it shows if a person has had a "easy life" or if he/she has gone through severties. Usually the second part of people is more mature.

Like Gatsby, I think we all should have grand visions for the future. It's good to know what one cherishes and we should never give up on what we truly are, just to please others. There is nothing more attractive to a person than true passions, if you ask me.

"Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgiastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that's no matter--tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther.... And one fine morning-- So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past."
- F. Scott Fitzgerald

Nevertheless, how far can one go with one's plans? Once you include other people in them, we have to make sure they want to share those plans with you.


Nostalgia

This theme really hit hard on me since I belong to the most nostalgic people I know. Don't we all want to repeat the past, at least the happy moments that is? I think our society makes us look up to the past, instead of the future. When one faces a time of uncertainty like for instance Europe is doing right now, it's easy to look back at earlier times and think that they were better. However, it's vital to know that one can never repeat the past. The past lives with us, but we only hurt ourselves with creating fairytales in the heart. Once you embrace the past but plan for the future, you'll truly start living. Somebody wise once said that if you think too much about the past, you forget to live.

"Can't repeat the past?... Why of course you can!"
- F. Scott Fitzgerald

"With every word she was drawing further and further into herself, so he gave that up, and only the dead dream fought on as the afternoon slipped away, trying to touch what was no longer tangible, struggling unhappily, undespairingly, toward that lost voice across the room."
- F. Scott Fitzgerald


The 20's

Even though the 20's were the setting for this movie, I believe it played its biggest part in the beginning of the movie and as the movie got more intense, the decade's importance faded out. In the end the movie could have been set in any time, since its themes are still current. 

In the beginning of the movie we got to see a glimpse of the roaring 20's when everyone was celebrating life, love, drinking - whatever. This because of sustained economic prosperity. The parties were visually beautiful, and I loved the dance scenes. Such beautiful illusions. The women's role in the society wasn't that motivating and I think Daisy's quote captures it well.

"All right... I'm glad it's a girl. And I hope she'll be a fool--that's the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool."
-F. Scott Fitzgerald


To sum it all up, I really enjoyed the movie even though I thought it was more bittersweet and tragic than I had thought from its trailer. I wish they would have saved a party also to the end, but I guess that would have ruined the book's message. I didn't care that much for the war glimpses in the movie since they were mostly based on old footage. At those points I think they could have made new war scenes if they needed to be in the movie. Not all songs suited the movie in my opinion, but overall the music of the film was touching. The actors in this movie were amazing, especially Leonardo Dicaprio. This was the first time I saw him act both serious, but also funny! Like I said in the beginning - this is for sure one of my favorites movies right now because its timelessness and beauty.

Were these the same themes you reacted to in the movie? What did you think about the movie as a whole?

18 comments:

  1. I love the song young and beautiful! So perfect I can listening the song whole day long. XJes babe
    www.supongoestilo.blogspot.nl

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  2. I have read the book, but I haven't seen the new movie yet

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    1. Tell me what you think once you've seen it!

      xxx
      E

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  3. Waiting to see it.Hope you can visit my blog too and let me know whether you like to follow each other on GFC and bloglovin.
    www.thoughtsofpaps.com

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    1. Let me know what you think of the movie once you've seen it!

      xxx
      E

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  4. I loved the soundtrack, the costumes and the scenes, as well as Leonardo Di Caprio's stunning performance ! Young and beautiful is also a favorite song of mine ! Kisses

    Fashion and Cookies
    Fashion and Cookies on Facebook
    Bloglovin

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    1. I'm so happy to hear that you share my love for the movie!

      xxx
      E

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  5. Hi dear, this is such an excellently written and well thought-out review, you uncovered so much more of the hidden meanings that most people would pick out. I think students could use this post for assistance on the novel! I am looking forward to see it, hope that will be soon. I can't recall the book, i read it when I was quite young, but I think this calls for a re-read. On Safrican cuisine, the favourite national thing to have here is a 'braai' which is very much the same as a barbecue. We also have 'potjie kos' which is a mix of meat, vegetables and gravy slow cooked in a small pot over a fire. But Sa is very multicultural and most people cook and eat all types of international cuisine.

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    1. Thank you Sam for your ever so kind words! Haha, I'm happy if somebody can use my post for school :)
      Oh, your barbecue sounds delicious, wish I could see a photo of it someday.

      xxx
      E

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  6. well, I really know nothing about the book, films.. actually anything concerning The Great Gatsby. I only know many people are crazy about it and many people I know have seen it. I'm glad you found yourself a favourite film, it's always a great feeling when this happens :) by the way, when I was in university I used to watch SO many films it was crazy but when I moved to my own house everything changed a lot. I just don't have time for that anymore and it makes me sad because I like writing reviews. I hope things will change when the time is right.
    ps. I also hope you found at least something useful from my vacation posts :)

    Maiken,
    Maikeni blogi - part of me

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    1. Yes, and it has been a while since I've seen such a striking movie!
      Oh, only a little over two weeks and I'm off to Estonia! :)

      xxx
      E

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  7. fantastic film <3 great blog- would you like to follow each other just let me know I wait for you on my blog xo xo xo

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  8. Hih, lähden metsästämään mustaa koria :)

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    1. Haha, kerro sitten minullekin kun löydät sellaisen :)

      xxx
      E

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