The two is palpable as a shift in temporal

The Great Gatsby by
F. Scott Fitzgerald is filled with many characters who live hopeless and lonely
lives despite an extravagant and luxurious lifestyle. Accordingly, it has
become a topic of interest in today’s culture. For this, I look at Baz
Luhrmann’s film. In this essay, I will be explicating the differences between
the book and the movie.

 

            We
see many differences between the movie and the book. Firstly, the book and
movie differs during the institution scene, depicting it in two unique ways.
The movie begins with the narrator, Nick Carraway, getting help from a doctor
in an institution for various problems such as being an alcoholic and victim of
depression. On the other hand, in the novel, Nick is simply telling the story
from the future, not from an institution. The effect created between the two is
palpable as a shift in temporal view is noticeable in evoking emotion.

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Secondly, Jordan
Baker’s character is not as developed in the movie as it is in the novel. In
the movie, it is learned that Jordan is an athlete and this is not found out
until later in the book. In the novel, Jordan was accused of cheating in gold
and has a fiancé. In the movie, none of this was shown. Also, the relationship
between Nick and Jordan is absent from the movie but not from the book. Further,
we learn Jordan Baker is an athlete nearly immediately. Though this, in itself,
doesn’t mean much, her entire storyline and narrative is sped up and her
unlikely romance with Nick is cut out for the sake of time. In the book, the
two only ever seem to have a casual affection for one another, especially as Jordan
is shown to be dishonest; however, in the film, she’s a blank canvas that is
never particularly illustrated upon. These two points serve to create to
contrasting effects towards the book; we find Jordan more mysterious and
likeable as to how in-amicable her novel character really is.

 

Thirdly, much like
Jordan as a tepid version to her novel mode, Daisy lacks a particular spark,
the underlying pettiness that propels her character forward in the book.
Instead of offering a voice ringing like money, she offers a weak will and a
damsel-in-distress persona that doesn’t suit the character, or even the
actress, Carey Mulligan, either. In the book, she’s careless, In the movie,
she’s more often thoughtless. This nuanced effect has a gradual and systemic effect
onto the movie as Daisy seems less and less intuitive and logical (in a
hedonistic view).

 

We get an early hint
that Gatsby is wistful an waiting for someone before Carraway even goes to New
York and gets massively intoxicated. He sees the neighbour out on the dock late
in the evening, staring out across the harbour. It’s easy for audience members
who have read the book to decipher what he is thinking, but the small moment
certainly gives fans an extra foreshadowing of the big reveal in the book.  While Fitzgerald’s book always feels very
much like a product of a particular period in time, Luhrmann’s work always
seems like one grand extended costume party, irrevocably modern and full of rap
music. He pairs this with quiet moments between our main characters that evoke
emotions and results in a stylistic film that manages to feel like Fitzgerald’s
book and nothing like it at all.

 

When Nick attends
Luncheon with Gatsby and Mr. Wolfsheim, Luhrmann takes us through a secret door
in a barbershop and into a speakeasy full of dancing women and corrupt men. To
prove a point about corruption, Luhrmann even places the police commissioner on
the premise. The effect is heavy and exaggerated but is a metaphor for media’s
compulsion to hyperbole. In any iteration of The Great Gatsby, it offers
up commentary on a variety of themes such as justice, power, greed, betrayal,
the (dissolution of) American dream, and so on. Of all the themes, none is more
well-developed than that of social stratification. The Great Gatsby is regarded
as a brilliant piece of social commentary, offering a vivid peek into American
life in the 1920s. Fitzgerald carefully sets up his novel into distinct groups
but, in the end, each group has its own problems to contend with, leaving a
powerful remind of what a precarious place the world really is.

 

By creating social
classes, stratifying it into 3 distinct circles: old money, new money, and no
money, Fitzgerald sends strong messages about the elitism running throughout
every stratum of society. As contemporary culture strives towards a more
feministic outlook, one with independence and agency in the female, we see
Jordan and Daisy adopt these into themselves. Further, we see the male’s roles
and design as one with silence and mystery as opposed to older designs. Through
both works, we see many valuable lessons and daily struggles as each
reproduction attends to each theme in its own unique ways.

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