"The Great Gatsby" tells the story of Jay Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio), a secretive millionaire who is in love with a wealthy woman named Daisy Buchanan, played by Carey Mulligan. When Daisy's cousin, Nick Carraway, played by Tobey Maguire, moves in next to Gatsby, he doesn't hesitate to use Nick to get close to his lost love. With the publicity constantly involved in his life, Gatsby finds it hard keeping his love for Daisy hidden from her husband. When Daisy's Husband, Tom Buchanan. Played by Joel Edgerton, discovers his wife's affection for Gatsby, he is quick to make sure it doesn't last. When Jay Gatsby's past is revealed, his entire life begins to unravel. Can Gatsby and Daisy make a life for themselves or will the past control the future?
I am in love with this movie! Words can't describe how incredible the entire film is, but I'll do my best. This film is in 3D, which makes the incredible set and costume design come to life. The visuals in this film could have been a movie of its own because they are so breathtakingly beautiful. The rich colors and textures make the cinematography pop. This film is set in the 20s, where life for the wealthy was lavish and over the top 24-7 and the wardrobe really shows that off. The entire look of this movie is so rich and lavish that it sucks you in and you feel as if you can grasp the fabrics and streamers of Jay Gatsby's parties because everything is so full-bodied with color. I feel like you could take a screenshot of every frame in this film and then send it off to a photography museum because it is just so striking.
The soundtrack is another thing of wonder in this film. It features modern songs such as Jay-Z and Kanye West's "No Church in the Wild" as well as Lana Del Rey's "Young and Beautiful" and other artist such as Florence + the Machine, Beyonce, William and even a few dubstep mixes, however all these modern hits are meshed with 20s rag time, giving it an authentic feel with a modern edge. It took me a few scenes to get used to because when I first heard modern artist Frank Ocean singing while a 20s-themed trumpet tune played, I was a little shocked. Once I warmed up to it, I fell in love with the unique sound. I actually think it is a very clever way to make the younger generation become more enthralled with the movie because the music we are used to at parties is the more modern sound. I think it is a clever way to make the festivities of this movie more appealing to a younger crowd.
My favorite scene would have to be when Nick goes to one of Gatsby's massive parties. People from all over New York and from all walks of life would flock to Gatsby's house weekend after weekend to indulge in his lavish lifestyle, even though none of them knew Gatsby or had ever met him. In the very first party scene you really become engorged in the luxurious accommodations of Gatsby's palace. His house is filled with streamers, dancers, outrageously dressed guests and vivid decor. The entire scene is so visually pleasing. I also really enjoyed the scene where Gatsby plans for Daisy to visit Nick at his house and then "coincidentally" stop by so he can see her again after 5 years. I like this scene because Gatsby always seems like such a confident man who is on top of the world but, when he is faced with seeing his true love after so many years apart, he gets the demeanor of a squeamish school boy. It is so cute how he obsesses over Daisy in the beginning of the scene and it is touching how nervous he gets before she comes over. Leonardo's acting in this scene is truly astounding and his subtle display of emotions accents the fact that he is frantically trying to conceal his emotions.
My favorite character is Jay Gatsby because he is such a complex man. He builds his entire dream life to impress Daisy. He builds his home across the lake from her house so he can see her, throws parties hoping she'll attend, and does everything in his power to be near to her which is very humbling considering he could do virtually anything with his riches. Leonardo's performance in this film deserves an award because of how realistically he portrayed Gatsby. I truly respect Leonardo as an actor because no matter what role he is playing I never see it as Leo playing so and so, but I see him as the actual character. He full-heartedly embodies Jay Gatsby and shows the depths of the character in such a remarkable way. I loved every second of his performance.
Overall I give this film 5 out of 5 stars, I would give it more if I could! "The Great Gatsby" has everything I look for in a film - well executed plot, excellent visuals, unique music, and a brilliant cast and crew. I recommend this film for ages 13 and up for excessive drinking and mature situations. I can't wait to see this film again, so be sure to go see "The Great Gatsby" when it hits theaters May 10th.
Reviewed by Raven Devanney, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic