Nick Carroway (Tobey Maguire) moves into a small cottage in New York to pursue his dream of being a writer only to stumble across the story of a lifetime. Next door is the mysterious Mr. Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio) who hosts lavish parties though no one knows who he is. While visiting his cousin Daisy (Carey Mulligan), discussions of Gatsby make Nick more curious about the identity in his neighbor. After receiving an invitation to one of his parties, Nick finally meets the mysterious Great Jay Gatsby.
DiCaprio captures Gatsby’s spirit in a way that only he could. I can see no other actor portraying him, nor would I want to. He exudes sophistication and mystery, and no matter what comes out of his mouth, we are endeared to believe him with each “‘ol sport” he utters. And just as Jay does in the book, he is able to revert to a love struck young man when with Daisy, embodied by Carey Mulligan. She is Daisy, looking apprehensive and head over heels when with her lover.
Tobey Maguire makes a terrific Carroway, portraying the thoughtfulness of the narrator while still being completely enamored with Gatsby (as we all should be). If there was anyone’s performance I was worried about, it was his. I tend to only see Spiderman 3 when I see Tobey, and I know many others do aw well. Fortunately it seems as though Maguire has left the Spideysuit behind him, and it truly shows as Carroway.
If the cast and story isn’t enough, the film looks amazing and almost dreamlike. Nick’s flashback to 1922 is so vibrant and exciting, exactly as I had pictured it when reading the book. The feel is incredible reminiscent of Moulin Rouge!, what is probably director Baz Luhrmann’s most well known film. Despite the more modern soundtrack, the music suits the film perfectly, capturing the excitement of the times. Lana Del Rey’s “Young and Beautiful” has an indescribably sexy yet heartbroken sound to it that makes for a perfect theme for Daisy and Gatsby.
I can’t stop praising this movie. Everything about it was so well done, from the inclusion of key lines to the ever watching eyes of Dr. T.J. Eckleburg, nothing is overlooked. I foresee a good awards season for The Great Gatsby, so hopefully when judges are picking their Best Actor, they will remember that the eyes of God are watching.