|Jay Gatsby and Daisy Buchanan|
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald is a real American classic, and I think everyone interested in seeing the movie should read it first. It's about this dreamy, almost foolishly optimistic young man who calls himself Gatsby and the crazy things he does out of love for Daisy Buchanan, his teenage sweetheart, who is now married to a powerful but unfaithful heir. One of the most striking things about it, besides the amazing portrayal of this crazy time in history, is how brutally honest and relatable the story is even after all these years. Gatsby's perennial and unshakable optimism and love will strike a chord with anyone. Everyone has known a Daisy or two in their lifetime. And everyone will feel something cold deep in their gut as they read the final line of page 154.
It also has a great deal of beautiful imagery and metaphor, if you're interested in that sort of thing. I am, but most people aren't so I won't bore you with my theories :)
Now I guess I should repeat that anthem that book lovers everywhere whine each time they step out of the movie theater after watching the adaptation of a favorite book. No, Great Gatsby the movie was not as good as the book - but it was pretty damn close. The makers of the movie were very delicate and intelligent about the changes they made in translating the story onto the screen. They made very few changes to the plot - instead, they made more aesthetic changes to give the movie a timeless quality. Each scene had an ethereal and otherworldly quality to it; the colors were sharper, the people more striking, the parties hyperboles in themselves. Much of Gatsby's score was actually modern music with a 20s' twist - different rhythms, different voices, that sort of thing. All of these little tweaks added up to a feel that was part historical, part futuristic, and part magical. I guess the best way to describe this movie would be to call it a fairy tale.