The Great Gatsby: 9 Big Differences Between The Book And Movie
Putting together a film based on a highly acclaimed literary work full of phrasings and lines of dialogue that have forever been burned into readers' minds is largely a thankless task. Creating a film that maintains the heart and soul of such a literary work and even many of its most graceful lines is nearly impossible to accomplish, and in that aspect, director Baz Luhrmann has plenty of troubles with The Great Gatsby. F. Scott Fitzgerald’s descriptive sentences are almost as important as his dialogue and tossing some of the finest lines from the book into ashy script on the screen isn’t the best way to make the most of those moments. Nor is taking creative license in certain big moments in order to speed up the storytelling process.
In other ways, Luhrmann owns his portrayal of The Great Gatsby, keeping the energy and the often frenetic pace of the twenties by speeding forward into nights of partying and langouring through days of idle play. Like the director’s other works—especially Moulin Rouge--The Great Gatsby is noticeably, unmistakably Luhrmann’s and whether or not you believe in his vision is largely dependent on your tolerance of the man’s idea of spectacle. It would be nearly impossible to outdo Mr. Fitzgerald, and so Luhrmann tries to visually gives us as different a world as possible while still maintaining the quality of the venerable writer’s pages. It’s not the movie Fitzgerald would have written, but he was never all that good at creating screenplays, anyway.
Following are the nine biggest changes I noticed in my screening of The Great Gatsby. Feel free to remark on any changes you feel may have been more noticeable. There are many spoilers in The Great Gatsby book to movie comparison. Do not delve in if you want the film to be a surprise.
To give a frame to Nick Carraway’s narration, Luhrmann introduces us to a broken Nick, who is working with a doctor to recover his health after troubles with alcohol. This seems a little distasteful, since Carraway comes across as a mostly careful and considerate individual. Asking us to see him out of sorts after Gatsby’s death is more than a bit of a stretch, especially as Luhrmann also tasks the character with writing The Great Gatsby.
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