I just wanted to finally declare that I think this feat is impossible. The Great Gatsby can only work as a book. Every now and then, I come across a review of Baz Luhrmann’s Gatsby movie. The typical movie critic either loves it or hates it, saying that it’s either a great theatrical movie depicting the American Dream or that it’s a terrible interpretation of Fitzgerald’s novel. Well, hello, have you read the book?! The book is practically void of emotion — we weren’t meant to see the characters’ expressions on screen in all their glory.
If you’ve read The Great Gatsby before you ever watched a Gatsby movie (or before you heard that Baz Luhrmann was coming out with his own motion picture version of it), you probably played out a very different story in your head. Fitzgerald wrote the novel so that it included some of the most prominent and most fundamental characteristics of the American Dream. The book is essentially the skeleton for the American Dream. The complexities of the actual characters in the novel aren’t exactly present. We don’t actually know what kind of person Gatsby was like or if Daisy was head-over-heels in love with him or not at all.
The novel lacks the complicated multi-faceted-ness of human personalities and emotion. Any movie director and/or screenwriter would have numerous blanks to fill. He or she would have to formulate almost completely new characters and the actual novel is used merely as a guideline for the complexities of the American Dream (not the characters in it). I think that whether or not a movie is a worthy adaptation of the novel depends largely on how an individual reader interpreted the book — which can vary drastically on an individual case-by-case basis.
I’d like to see more neutral reviews of Luhrmann’s Great Gatsby, or at least see the negative ones acknowledge the difficulties in making a movie adaptation of Fitzgerald’s novel. Because guess what? Despite acknowledging its (self-interpreted) flaws, I loved Baz Luhrmann’s Gatsby movie!