Baz Luhrman’s “Gatsby” Reviewed

Anna Godbersen in Alloy Entertainment:

Gatsby_380wide1As a bookish teenager in love with whiling away rainy afternoons in cafes, I read The Great Gatsby I don’t know how many times, and then when I was writing my series Bright Young Things, which is set in the 1920s, I returned to it over and over as a kind of bible, not just of the era, but also of compressed, elegiac storytelling. Fitzgerald’s masterpiece is a sacred text to American writers for all kinds of reasons, and thus rather tender source material for a big Hollywood production. And so it is a very happy thing that Baz Luhrmann’s screen adaptation is reverential without being exactly faithful—it takes all those beautiful sentences, and writes them in the sky. Fitzgerald himself was not so much the chronicler of the Jazz Age as its inventor, so when we talk about the decade of bootlegging and giddy excess, of dancing the Charleston and diving into fountains in evening dresses, we are inhabiting his and his wife Zelda’s whimsical vision of the world. In remaking The Great Gatsby, Luhrmann indulges in something of the author and the title character’s wild imagination.

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