Fangirling for Gatsby

Which Gatsby’s Greater?

I’m listening to The Great Gatsby soundtrack as I write this, wishing I could be watching the movie a second time through instead of singing along with Lana Del Rey. I saw it over the weekend and still can’t get Baz Luhrmann’s fantastical interpretation of  Jay Gatsby’s decadent world out of my head. I’ll confess that 70% of me wasn’t anticipating to love or even like it as much as I did. Partly because I tend to be a bit protective over original versions and classic novels that get adapted into films, and partly because of all the canonical books I read as an English Lit major in college, The Great Gatsby was so distinctly my least favorite. I couldn’t wait to get to the last page so I never had to read about that stupid green light EVER. AGAIN. Several of my professors shared the sentiment and class after class, Fitzgerald’s “magnum opus” was the butt of every nerdy literary joke.


A few minutes into the movie and I knew I needed to run home after and re-read the book. I didn’t want to exit the magical world the movie had propelled me into. I wondered, is the movie by far better than the novel? Did I really dislike The Great Gatsby so much all those years ago? Or did I simply absorb the critical opinions of all my teachers in school?  I knew I wasn’t the only one who came to the movie with some reservations. Some were expecting it to be a “disaster” and critics are saying it’s way too much. It’s getting flack for being too exuberant and not refined enough to honor Fitzgerald’s “precisely tuned text.” This is exactly the kind of totally snobby, annoying thing I might have been saying in my head, but guys–I have to tell you–all these critics are just so wrong, and so am I. It will take all of five minutes into the film to realize that it isn’t doing a disservice to the original work at all. It’s resuscitating its life. In fact, the movie re-introduces Gatsby to a whole new generation that might never have the book cross their radar in the same way. It gives it an excitement not many are associating with F. Scott Fitzgerald since… the 1900s. It melds the heart of the classic with amazingly modern touches–like the soundtrack I’m listening to now, which features a number of old songs that have been repurposed and covered with new flare to fit the film. The movie is a lot like that: a marriage of the best of both worlds. In my humble opinion, of course.

Okay, I know I’m verging on fangirling right now, but Baz Luhrmann (the director) said at the premier that a decade ago when he revisited the book, he had a revelation. “It was us, where we are now, this great mirror to reflect back on us,” he said. I know just what he means because I felt the same ten years ago exactly, as I sat in my first college course holding this book and analyzing its message. Here we are a decade later and it’s even more relevant, reflecting the same cautionary tale as it always has. History repeats itself because we have yet to learn from it, but maybe with this movie out, Fitzgerald newbies will consider the world and their perceptions in a fresh way. Maybe the movie will actually bring people to the book. The director noted that that’s exactly what is happening and in the last week the novel has sold more copies than in the author’s lifetime. That kind of news makes my lit geek day and fills my book nerd heart with joy. I’ve also seen it firsthand. The friend I saw the movie with NEVER reads, HATES books (what a weirdo, I know) and has not once considered The Great Gatsby, but she’s coming over tomorrow to borrow my copy of the book. That’s one for Team Bibliophile!

The book she’ll be getting won’t look like the shiny posters for the film.

Modern Gatsby

It’ll look a little more traditional. Something like this:

Classic Gatsby

But it will still tell the same story and ignite the imagination, just like the movie did. Who knows–she may like it even more.

I want to know what you all think. Are you going to see The Great Gatsby? Have you already read it in high school or college? What did you think of it? And what great literary masterpiece do you want to see on the big screen next?

Thanks for reading, lovelies! Lisi will be back next week with her usual Blah-g.




17 thoughts on “Fangirling for Gatsby

  1. Great post! I saw it in theatres on Sunday and I loved it. Afterwards, I had Young and Beautiful stuck in my head and a strong desire to pick up the book snd start reading. I had planned to read it a while back, but never got around to it, but seeing the movie was the kick I needed. 😉
    Laura Marie

  2. It’s been a coupe of years since I have read The Great Gatsby, and I am now re-reading, and enjoying it much more than I did in high school. I also saw the movie yesterday, and though at times I thought that overall it seemed over-dramatized and at times animated, but I thought there was a reason for all of that. The reason being, as you mentioned, for the exact reason and message that Fitzgerald was trying to get across. And it all makes sense. The film was really beautiful, from cinematography to costume design. I simply ah-dored it! I was also listening to the soundtrack before the movie came out, and my fave song is def Lana’s. Anyone have a favorite scene, book/movie?

  3. Omg! I have English II Honors this semester and we just finished reading the book this past Friday so we could go see the movie that weekend (Oh and our class read it with the bottom pic you have as the cover too). I really wanted to go see it but I didn’t have a way to get there so I haven’t been able to see it yet 😦 my teacher said it was really bad and a couple of other students but others say it was really good. I’m so confused on who to believe haha. I just need to go watch it for myself so ill have my own opinion to tell people. Awesome post by the way. So far this is the only good reason I can think of for having a take home quiz, 3 projects, wksts, etc. all due tomorrow and having to stay up late is being able to read yalls blah-g’s. If I didn’t have all this work I probably would be asleep like everyone else most likely are since its already 11:50 pm here. Hope you and Lisi have a good night and week! And everyone else on here! Also I hope your friend likes the book too. Now back to my homework… Just 6 more days until Summer! Yay!!! 🙂

    • Ha! I get why your English teacher didn’t like it. That’s just how English teachers are! Anything that isn’t the original is usually highly criticized and movie adaptations are practically shunned. At least, that was my experience in high school and college with Lit. professors. I definitely think you should see it and decide for yourself. And good luck with quizzes!

  4. I’ve yet to read this one, though I know a bit about it ’cause I ‘indirectly’ studied it in reference to another book. I will read it some day, and only after that some day will I watch this seemingly snazzy movie, but it will (hopefully) be done. Some day, come soon.

    And I know history repeats itself, but I don’t think it’s just that we don’t learn… I think it’s physically/mentally/literally impossible for us to learn. For all our advancements, I think we’re too stupid and arrogant a race to look back and improve….

    … oh my. I’m having a cynical day o.o Great post, anyhow x)

  5. Read it in high school and thought it was ok, then we saw an old adaption of the movie and I think I lined seeing it in action.

    Cannot wait to see the new one. Very excited about it.

  6. Great post Alisha!!! Thank you for guest blogging and for doing it with such brilliance and style. Ah-dored clicking on Leo’s face. I will see this movie 100%. Also thank you for helping me with DBC yesterday. You are invaluable to me!! xoxo

  7. Great post. Fangirling is run when you only do it once and awhile on things that are ah-mazing! I read the book this year and loved it! I didn’t fully get it though… I’m reading it again this summer.
    Plus, what makes a movie complete? Leonardo! I think yes.

  8. Hey Alisha,
    At my school, all the Gr. 11 English classes read The Great Gatsby. Let`s just say it isn’t the most amazing book I’ve ever read.
    On the day the movie came out, all the Gr. 11 English classes this semester plus the Gr. 12 Enhanced class went to go see it (we crowded a whole movie theater!).
    I liked the extravagance of the movie, especially the party scenes (those were excellently done). I really liked the over-head panels they did with the camera, especially with the scenes at the Buchanan`s house. Overall, the cinematography was excellent, I liked how the words appeared on screen when Nick was writing them, but I thought it was a bit cliché that in the end (SPOILER), Nick wrote The Great Gatsby.

    Right now, we`re reading The Kite Runner in English and it is honestly my new favourite book. I can’t get over the authenticity of it and the masterful way Khaled Hosseini portrays his story. The great literary masterpiece that I want to see is The Kite Runner, which came out as a movie back in 2007. I really hope we watch it in English class. I hope you and Lisi have read it, Alisha, because it is an eye-opener and a truly inspiring and well-written book.
    To everyone who hasn`t read it, READ IT! You will not regret it.

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