Baz-aholic. I've spent countless hours watching his films and reveling in the opulence, splendor, romance and heartbreak. I got on the wagon with Australia (I only vaguely remember a half-naked Hugh Jackman and have blocked the rest) but found myself back off with The Great Gatsby.
So in all bloggy seriousness...you truly have to be a fan of Mr. Luhrman's to enjoy Gatsby. And it would help to also be a fan of Moulin Rouge since, as Buzzfeed pointed out, they're basically the same movie*. If you're looking for a faithful adaptation of Gatsby then I'm pretty sure you need to look elsewhere. Here's another admission of mine...I've not read F. Scott Fitzgerald's story in (GULP) 23 years! Yikes. That makes me feel old. Anywhoodle, I will not be comparing the film to the novel.
So as a fan of pure aesthetic and as someone who can be distracted from a lackluster story ("Ooo, shiny!"), I will say that my biggest complaint was a lack of love between the titular Gatsby and the love of his life, Daisy. I just don't think enough screen time was spent with them TOGETHER. We got a lot of pining from Gatsby and really only a little bit from Daisy. Gatsby seems to be in love with the idea of a Daisy he knew years ago. Daisy is in love with idea of his wealth and the attention she'd be sure to get from him. Beyond that...meh.
The acting was pretty solid except that I still just don't get Tobey Maguire. He was fine, I guess, but I was not impressed. Leonardo DiCaprio continues to be great, even as Gatsby, and Carey Mulligan was a good Daisy. As expected, a number of Australia's finest turned out and gave good performances. They would include: Joel Edgerton, Jason Clarke, Isla Fisher, and Adelaide Clemmons (aka Michelle Williams, Jr.). However, I was probably most impressed with newcomer, Elizabeth Debicki, who played Jordan Baker. I'm expecting that we'll see more of her in the future.
The story and plot were so-so and actually served as more of a distraction from the visuals (costumes, sets, etc.). Oh the visuals. So pretty. Just so sparkly, fast and fun:
I wanted the music to work because I think it did in Romeo + Juliet and Moulin Rouge but most of the songs just felt detached from what was going on in the film. Maybe I just don't like Jay Z in period movies.
Overall I did enjoy the movie and think it's worth seeing on the big screen...BUT ONLY IF YOU REALLY LIKE BAZ LUHRMAN FILMS.
*Also supplied by Buzzfeed are reasons why Baz sucks and why he rules