Movie Review: Pride and Prejudice (2005)

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Plot: Sparks fly when spirited Elizabeth Bennet meets single, rich, and proud Mr. Darcy. But Mr. Darcy reluctantly finds himself falling in love with a woman beneath his class. Can each overcome their own pride and prejudice?

Continuing on my slightly unhealthy craze of Pride and Prejudice and all things Elizabeth and Mr. Bennet related, I had to watch this 2005 adaption again. I can’t find a review for it anywhere on my blog, and I know I’ve seen it before – is it possible that I did it pre-blog? I’ll never know!

I had a great time. I remember enjoying it the first time but not really appreciating the ending back then – I think I didn’t get at that stage just how British this story is and how perfect that ending was.

There are a number of changes made, but it was organic– I didn’t feel that it deducted from the story at all. The changes made were done to fit the span of the book into a movie, so a lot of information and pivotal scenes were ignored. As I said it didn’t damage the film much, but the book certainly provides a more comprehensive scope of Darcy’s character and the change Elizabeth was able to inspire in him.

Pride and Prejudice Dance

Matthew MacFadyen is truly a perfect Darcy. He is a wonderful actor, truly being able to convey emotions without saying too much. He is perfectly British and his contained atmosphere and telling outbursts as Mr. Darcy is spot on.

My love/hate relationship with Keira Knightley seems set to continue. The way she has of pulling her mouth frustrates me to no end. But, as I listed here, the fact that she has an annoying mouth does not derive from the fact that she is an accomplished actress. Ms. Bennet is as challenging to a female lead as Mr. Darcy is to a male lead – complex, intelligent characters with the weight of being a beloved classic weighing them down. She manages her role admirably and is a delight as Ms. Bennet, and has sufficient and delightful levels of impertinence that made me love her all the more.

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Rosamund Pike as Jane Bennet was a choice that I was not that all that pleased with, but she did her best. There was a desperation to her impression of Jane that I did not enjoy – Jane is shy and sweet natured and a bit too believing in the best of others, but she isn’t a desperate woman. Jenna Malone as Lydia Bennet was a perfect choice – Lydia is really the worst thing, she is a flirting little girl with no sense or morals or particular care for her family. It takes a strong actress to bring that particular disregard to family and tradition to life, and the callousness with which Lydia does it as well. Donald Sutherland as Mr. Bennet properly emanates that exhaustion Mr.Bennetmust feel from a lifetime with the skittish and irritating Mrs. Bennet (Brenda Blethyn) – who can’t but help being such an annoying person. I wish I could have seen more of Rupert Friend as Mr. Wickham – he was good on screen but not particularly often on it, which is frustrating as Mr. Wickham is quite important to the events that unfold. I wish I liked Simon Woods as Charles Bingley – he was just too ginger for my idea as Bingley. I did like Kelly Reilly as Caroline Bingley – she was as snobbish and backhanded and mean spirited as her character requires.

I felt similarly in the book – a need to rush through and to get to the end to know everything, but the pacing was slow and careful and makes you subsequently pay a lot more attention. The British countryside is beautiful despite the depressing weather, and the director managed to capture it and incorporate it into this very British movie.

The ending of the film is different to the book only in execution, with the phrases altered slightly but still much the same. It is powerful and touching, and the chemistry between Knightley and MacFayden is through the roof at that very moment. I’ve seen the extended version and the normal version, and the extended is a lot more true to what happens in the book.

I enjoyed this adaption so much. It is a great cast, it is well paced and despite missing some key events it still tells what it needs to tell. Watching this soon again is inevitable. An 8.5/10 for me.

 

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Watched, Read, Loved: April 2017

April is the best month for South-Africa. Seriously – we have so many public holidays people are actually nice to each other. I took off a chunk of time as well, and it did me the world of good. I actually got some sleep in, saw my bestie and watched some amazing films. Without further ado, here is my rundown of April 2017.

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Movies:

BEauty poster

Beauty and the Beast (2017): The painful excitement that came when I heard they were doing a live animation of my favorite Disney classic was excruciating. Would it work? Would it fail? The QUESTIONS that plagued me.Additionally, B&B was released in South-Africa later than the rest of the world because of South-Africaitis, and there were conflicting reports to be read. Anyway, grabbing popcorn and sitting down to see this was really wonderful. I liked it, and will watch it again. I had Gaston stuck in my head for a week. I better not hear that tune soon.

One day

One Day (2011): HATED IT.

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Basic Instinct(1992): This is part of my Blindspot 2017 series. This year I am doing remarkably well with it, because Zoë and I watched a bunch of them in December because #besties. Basic Instinct is next on the list and quite the shocker. OMFG my poor eyes.I might never recover.

Anywhere but home (2008): I thought this comedy was quite funny the second time around (I know I’ve seen this before but I can barely remember it). It’s also titled “Four Christmases”. I’ve never understood exactly why some movies get two titles. Anyway, if you can believe that someone like Reese Witherspoon would end up with someone like Vince Vaughn, you can get through the movie. It has some funny moments, and sure they are the typical things you’d expect, but they are funny regardless.

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Twilight: New Moon (2009): I’ve been meaning to blog about Twilight as a set for ages now. I did Twilight (2008) easily, but had a couple of months delay by what succeeds it. New Moon is the most insufferable – both book and movie – but I sat through it eventually.

Eclipse

Twilight: Eclipse (2010): Eclipse is a strong successor and definitely superior to the ghastly New Moon. Edward is still an obsessive stalker, Bella is still pathetic, R. Patz and Kristen Stewart still can’t act. But decisively better than the infuriating New Moon.

Safe Haven (2013): The casting for Nicholas Sparks film is never specified for acting abilities. I guess the author/filmmaker knows his audience too well, and knows if he provides enough pretty people the film will be acceptable to his fans. He’s not wrong. I enjoyed Safe Haven and the acting is really better than the acting in The Lucky One. The kids were cute and the story was okay.

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He’s just not that into you (2009): I always enjoy watching HJNTIY. My brother-in-law did not appreciate us making him watch it though, telling me that it is not also a guy-friendly film as I initially thought.

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Warm Bodies (2013): I just love this film. Nicholas Hoult is a zombie, and when he eats the brains ofTeresa Palmer’s boyfriend, he starts seeing some memories and slowly returns to human form. The cast, led by Hoult, are all quite charming and for a story that shouldn’t work it works really well.

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The DUFF (2015):yes, I watched it again. One of my favorite films at the moment. Such hilarity.lethal weapon

Lethal Weapon 1 (1987) & Lethal Weapon 2 (1989):
It was my first time around watching this buddy-cop series, and I really enjoyed it. The 1980’s were a glorious time to be alive obviously!

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Underworld: Blood Wars (2016)

SO SLOPPY.

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Chef (2014): Chef is a film about good food and happy endings, and well deserved of its’ praise. I really quite liked this film!

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Arrival (2016): My review will be up next week. I loved this. Handsdown one of the finest films of 2016.

Drive

Drive (2011): I remember enjoying Drive the first time around, but I really couldn’t remember everything about it. I enjoyed it so much this time too, it is a phenomenal film and some of Gosling’s best work.

The guest

The Guest (2014): This film has a lot of science reasons it works well to the appreciative eye, but I can tell you that I would have loved it without the science too. Gorgeous directing, a solid plot and excellent score, this film is a great film to watch again and again.

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Prisoners (2013): Prisoners currently ranks as my least favorite Villeneuve film. It is on no level a poor film, it was just not my favorite of his. And it is five hundred hours long. *Scientific fact*

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Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2016):

I can watch this movie indefinitely. It is the best!

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Crazy Stupid Love (2011): I definitely need to review this film again – It has been ages since I’ve posted it on my blog. One of the most inoffensive romantic comedies produced in later years, this movie will make you laugh and relate with some character in here.

Nocturnal animals

Nocturnal Animals (2016): This is my new hated film. Gosh, what a spectacular waste of my life. Pretentious bullshit.

 

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Black-Hills

Black Hills – Nora Roberts

This is a particular favorite book of mine. I enjoy Dr. Lillian Chance – she is passionate about her work in the refuge she built and is smart and cool.

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The Concannon Sisters trilogy – Nora Roberts

While I do enjoy this series of books – Born in Shame, Born in Ice and Born in Fire, they certainly aren’t my favorite of the author. However, her love for Ireland does show when reading this, and I particularly enjoy the description of the scenery.

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Two Broke Girls Season 4 and 5

I’m enjoying myself way too much with this comedy. It shouldn’t be as funny as it is, but I end up really laughing at it.

What did you do in April?

Movie Review: Drive (2011)

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“If I drive for you, you get your money. You tell me where we start, where we’re going, where we’re going afterwards. I give you five minutes when we get there. Anything happens in that five minutes and I’m yours. No matter what. Anything a minute on either side of that and you’re on your own. I don’t sit in while you’re running it down. I don’t carry a gun. I drive.”  The Driver

The Driver (Ryan Gosling) works as a getaway driver. He gives the criminals he drives for only five minutes to get in and out, and will leave them to their own devices should they take longer. His manager Shannon (Bryan Cranston) manages him in his three jobs – the getaway service, as a stunt double and as a mechanic in an auto shop.

Irene (Carey Mulligan) moves into one of the apartments in the building, and the Driver becomes her friend and helps her with small chores and connecting with her son Benicio (Kaden Leos). Even though he is attracted to her, he only acts as a friend because she is married to Standard Gabriel (Oscar Isaac) who is in prison. When Standard comes home, he is suspicious and competitive of the Driver but after the initial awkwardness it is obvious that nothing ever happened and he becomes friendlier.

Shannon wishes to get the Driver into racing, fully aware of how amazing he will be on the track. He persuades mobsters Bernie Rose (Albert Brooks) and Nino (Ron Perlman) to invest in them and buy a stock car chassis so that the Driver can build it up and race it.

Meanwhile Standard is visited by Cook (James Biberi) who he owes protection money to for his time in prison. He is beaten up while Benicio watches and Cook gives Benicio a bullet before he leaves. When the Driver finds them he is furious that Benicio is now in danger, and Irene probably as well, and offers to be the getaway driver to steal $40 000 from a pawn shop that will cover Standard’s debt.

A lot of guys mess around with married women, but you're the only one I know who robs a joint just to pay back the husband. Crazy.
A lot of guys mess around with married women, but you’re the only one I know who robs a joint just to pay back the husband. Crazy.

Standard and Cook’s accomplice Blanche (Christina Hendricks) to pull off the heist, the Driver sees a dark Chrysler pulling into the lot. Standard is killed by the pawnshop owner as he leaves the building and Blanche barely makes it into the car and they rush away.

Blanch and the Driver hides in a hotel, where she confesses that she and Cook were double-crossing him and Standard. Two of Cook’s henchmen arrives, kills Blanche before the Driver kills them both. The Driver tracks Cook down and after he smashes his fingers Cook tells him Nino is behind the robbery and double crossing.

The Driver wants nothing of the million anymore, just to get rid of it. Nino dismisses the offer to take the cash plainly, and sends a hit man to the Driver’s apartment building. He enters the lift with the Driver and Irene, and the Driver notices the man is carrying a weapon, kisses Irene for the first time and viciously kills the hit man, terrifying Irene.

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What will happen to Benicio, Irene and the Driver? Is there any chance they can ever be together? Will the Driver be ever able to get rid of the cash he doesn’t even want?

Rating: 8/10

Drive was so delightful. The movie was beautifully shot. The spans of silence worked to build the tension excellently and the depth of the Driver’s character was mesmerising when he defended himself. I didn’t find the violence too much at all, and seeing as I don’t have a fondness for guts everywhere I can’t see what people are harping on about. I never felt bored watching Drive and there was never the remote possibility of confusion – everything was so clearly shot that you knew exactly what was going down.

This is one of Ryan Gosling’s most intense roles ever played and certainly one of his best. It takes remarkable acting skills to get the message through without words, aided only by grunts and facial expressions. His character seems calm and a bit of a pushover and then when he is approached by people he did a job for in a social setting that switch is so fast and terrifying and effective.

Carey Mulligan seems to be gaining speed in Hollywood and I think it is well deserved. Sure, she fits into a very specific role but she does it so well that I love her every time I see her on screen. She is definitely becoming a favourite of mine.

The relationship between the Driver and Irene is so beautifully done. Initially the only thing the Driver does is be her friend and assist her. Only after her husband dies they share a kiss, but there is still something remarkably old fashioned about their love story.

The support cast did so well. Bryan Cranston was his ever delightful self, and I have to rave about Ron Perlman for just a few seconds. I find him hilarious. He is so over the top and strange and even when he is a gangster (Sons of Anarchy) there is something infinitely fabulous and mock-worthy about him. He is a great actor and always makes his characters so interesting.

I generally hate open endings. It is so frustrating to never know what happened to the characters! Drive is one of the few movies where it didn’t frustrate me, because the Driver did what he wanted to do – keep Irene and Benicio safe.

Have you seen this? What did you think?

Movie Review: Never Let Me Go (2010)

Never let me go poster

My name is Kathy H. I’m 28 years old. I’ve been a carer for nine years. And I’m good at my job. My patients always do better than expected, and are hardly ever classified as agitated, even if they’re about to make a donation. I’m not trying to boast, but I feel a great sense of pride in what we do. Carers and donors have achieved so much. That said, we aren’t machines. In the end it wears you down. I suppose that’s why I now spend most of my time not looking forwards, but looking back, to The Cottages and Hailsham, and what happened to us there. Me. Tommy. And Ruth.

Plot:

In 1952 life changed for people. Life expectancy ballooned to beyond a 100 years. Fast forwarding, a young man (Andrew Garfield) lies on a table smiling at a woman behind the glass watching him. The woman is Kathy H (Carey Mulligan), 28 years old, and as the narrator for Never Let Me Go she introduces herself as a Carer.

Kathy H thinks back to her youth spent at a boarding school Halisham. The children at Halisham are freakishly well behaved and follow orders without protest. Young Kathy (Izzy Meikle-Small) is friends with Ruth (Ella Purnell) and Tommy (Charlie Rowe), a boy who is always being teased by his classmates, especially Ruth. The school children are encouraged to develop their art skills in the hope to get their work up in “the Gallery”.

The new teacher at school, Miss Lucy (Sally Hawkins) struggles to make peace with the children’s fate. She tells the children they are clones, destined to become organ donors in their early twenties, and will eventually die, or “complete” after an average of four organ removals. The next day the headmistress (Charlotte Rampling) informs the school that Miss Lucy has left, presumably fired because she told the children the truth.

Kathy and Tommy start developing feelings for each other, but Ruth intervenes and steals Tommy away from Kathy. Kathy is heartbroken but she doesn’t fight for Tommy back, and he doesn’t seem to be upset by the arrangements either.

A few years later the children are now teenagers, and they leave school to be rehoused in cottages on a farm. They are permitted to wander into town but they are still required to sign in with their bracelets every night. Kathy finds porn magazines and pages through them, and Tommy finds her but isn’t very shocked. Ruth (Keira Knightley) cruelly teases Kathy about this and Kathy is forced to listen to Tommy and Ruth’s lovemaking every night.

Kathy, Ruth and Tommy meat other clones from similar schools on the farm. They tell them that they maybe saw the person Ruth may have been cloned from, a “possible”. They all head into town to investigate but the woman only slightly resembles Ruth and she is upset and tells them they are all cloned from “trash” like criminals and prostitutes.

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Another rumour running around is the possibility of “deferral” – a temporary stalling of donating your organs if you are deeply in love with another clone and can prove it. Tommy is convinced that the Gallery can see your soul through your artwork and that they can verify true love.

When Ruth and Tommy continue their relationship, Kathy chooses to become a “carer” for some distance between her and the couple. A carer is a clone who is given temporary leave to take care of donors who have begun their donating. Ruth and Tommy break up before Kathy leaves but she is already on her way.

Ten years later Kathy is still working as a Carer. By chance she sees Ruth again who is very frail after two donations. Together they find Tommy, who has also given two donations. Ruth asks them to go to the sea and they comply with her wishes. She asks them forgiveness for her selfishness in keeping them apart and that she always knew they were supposed to be together. Ruth gives them the address of the Madame, the alleged leader of the Gallery in the hopes that it can be established that Tommy and Kathy are in love and have some years together. Kathy is reluctant but agrees it is worth a try. Ruth shortly dies afterwards on the operation table.

Kathy and Tommy finally start their long overdue relationship. Tommy is weak from his donations but together they visit the Madame (Natalie Richard), who lives with Halisham’s old school principle. They tell them that the rumours of deferrals are lies and that there has never been such a thing. The Madame tells them that the Gallery was not there to look into their souls; it was to establish that they even had souls. Broken, they leave and Tommy asks Kathy to stop the car. He finally breaks down, releasing years of pent up rage and frustration. Sobbing, they hold onto each other, knowing their love is doomed.

Returning back to the first shot, Kathy watches as Tommy gets anaesthetised for his third donation. It is his last one and he dies during it. At the ending, Kathy is still alive, but plans to start with her donations as she doesn’t want a slightly longer life as a Carer anymore because Tommy is dead.

Rating: 6.5/10

Never Let Me Go was so strange. It was one of the movies where you want to ask at the end of it: “Really? That’s the end?”

It was based on a book and apparently well done so, but I was constantly waiting for revolution. Did they really not have souls? That is the only way I can understand people not fighting for their lives. They were indoctrinated, sure, but shouldn’t your survival instinct kick in when you know death is near? The doctors are removing your organs, dammit. I thought the three characters were displaying their souls constantly – Kathy was way too sweet and kind to be without a soul, Ruth was horrible and I think that requires a soul, albeit a black one, and Tommy displays his emotions the most and that obviously proves the existence of his.

The dreary English weather definitely contributed to the morose atmosphere of the movie. It was utterly depressing and yet strangely beautiful at the same time.

Carey Mulligan was again cast excellently as Kathy. She seemed innocent and well informed at the same time, not really seeking answers but open to them and so hopeless and accepting of her fate. I desperately wished for her to rip off her bracelet and run. Tommy was weak and very stupid to let Ruth ruin his life like that, because no matter how horrendous Ruth acted as Kathy’s friend, it takes two to tango.

I really, really dislike Keira Knightley. That insufferable pout is so annoying and the way she talks is irritating beyond belief. So, she was in fact excellently cast as Ruth because Ruth is such a horrible character. Ruth was selfish and cruel – if she really wanted a few more years because of the whole love defecting idea – Harisham had plenty of boys she could choose from, Tommy was NOT the only choice available.

I always get a little queasy watching movies of clinical trials / cloning / donating because they aren’t all that off the mark when looking at history. People will always find a way to justify their actions, and I am truly grateful that human cloning is still an impossible task. Never Let Me Go is obviously way out of the range of possibility, but I can’t help but wonder what will happen to the world, desperate for donors, when cloning is realized one day.

This is a deep, reflective movie about life and accepting death. It is not going to cheer you up after a bad day or make you feel positive about the hope for humanity. It is still excellently done and recommended for its’ strong message on life and the questionability of the ethics of the human race.

The Great Gatsby (2013)

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Nick Caraway (Toby Maguire) moves to New York to be part of the Wall Street boom. He moves into a small cottage in the West Egg, next to billionaire Jay Gatsby’s mansion. He is instantly intrigued by the man who he sees only glimpses of and only meets until much later. Gatsby is notoriously mysterious, and with no one knowing where he gets his millions from he is the subject of abject curiosity. Gatsby is known for throwing lavish parties where every party goer in NY is welcome without an invitation, although no one really even knows how he looks like.

Nick reunites with his cousin Daisy Buchanan (Carey Mulligan) and meets her pompous husband Tom Buchanan (Joel Edgerton). It is immediately obvious that theirs is not a happy marriage. During dinner, the phone rings incessantly and Daisy knows that it is Tom’s current mistress calling. Joining them at dinner also is golfer Jordan Parker (Elizabeth Debicki). She seems very aloof but gets overly curious whenever Daisy and Tom fights. When Jordan casually mentions that she knows Nick’s neighbor, Nick immediately notices that the name Gatsby means something very important to Daisy.

Nick is incredibly flattered when he becomes the first person ever to receive a personal invitation to go to Gatsby’s next party. He attends, and he and Jordan start searching for the elusive host. When Nick finds him, he is startled when Jay Gatsby is young, handsome and charming; nothing like the old man he was expecting to meet. Gatsby requests that Nick joins him on an adventure the next day, and he accepts.

Gatsby and Nick are on their way to being friends when they go to a secret lounge one day. There Nick meets Meyer Wolfsheim (Amitabh Bachchan), Gatsby’s business partner and seemingly a very underhanded man. He and Gatsby both offer Nick a way to make extra cash, but Nick instinctively knows that their dealings might not be legal. Gatsby is known and respected by seemingly everyone – including mafia bosses and governors. Yet when Tom Buchanan arrives at the secret luncheon the change in Gatsby is startling. He is immediately withdrawn and seems to have no confidence. Tom barely notices Gatsby and moves on.

Gatsby tells Nick that Jordan will ask him to do a favor to Gatsby. Nick expects the worst, but the request is deceptively simple. Gatsby wants Nick to invite Daisy to lunch, which he wants to attend as well. It is the reunion Gatsby has waited on for years. Nick invites Daisy, and when she sees Gatsby the years fall away and they are once again the young lovers they were five years earlier.

Tom starts to suspect his wife of extra marital affairs but is unable to prove anything because Nick is the perfect cover. However, Gatsby isn’t content to be Daisy’s toyboy – he wants Daisy to divorce Tom and admit she never loved him. She reluctantly agrees and they all have lunch together. Before Gatsby says anything, Daisy says she wants to head into town for some fun. They go, Tom using Gatsby’s car and Daisy and Gatsby in Tom’s car. On the way there, Tom stops for gas and sees his mistress Mytle (Isla Fisher) locked up. Her husband George (Jason Clarke) says that they are planning to go away, and Tom realizes that he is losing his wife and mistress simultaneously. In Town, Tom says he knows that Daisy is sleeping with Gatsby, the confrontation happens but not to Gatsby’s advantage. Daisy is unable to claim that she never loved Tom, because even though Tom is horrible there was something special between them once. Tom, sensing victory, says it is time to head home and says Daisy and Gatsby should use Gatsby’s car again. They leave with screeching tires.

Myrtle sees what she thinks is Tom’s car and runs out into the street for help. The car is unable to swerve in time and kills her instantly. The car rushes away. Tom arrives and sees his mistress dead and realize what it means. He tells George who the car belongs to and leaves as well.

The next day George arrives at the Gatsby mansion looking for Jay. What will happen? Will Daisy leave Tom? What will George do?

Rating: 8.5/10

There was a moment a few minutes into the movie where I wasn’t sure if it would be for me. True, I love Baz Luhrman’s work and I loved the Gatsby novel, but the way it was filmed struck me as a bit odd. It is very artsy to be honest. However, barely a second after the moment I started enjoying it.

The movie is very loyal to the book. It captures the fast paced drama very well. All the characters were well cast – my impression of George Wilson was somewhat different to the movie adaption, but even that worked in the end. I felt really sorry for him. He was an innocent bystander in it all and a puppet in Tom’s plan. I particularly thought Elizabeth Debicki was exceptional as Jordan Parker. She really was what I expected – the aloof, yet innately curious golfer who was mostly also innocent in the events that unfolded.

Leonardo DiCaprio as Jay Gatsby

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He once again stole the show as Gatsby. Can he do anything wrong? I think not. He is the standard for all actors to be measured by. He evolved from his young Jack Dawson days to become one of the most exceptional members of Hollywood. I really thought he brought the charm, mystery and sadness Gatsby needed to the table. He is astoundingly charming. The exaggerated accent and the “old sport” – both are parts of the book, irritated me but were essential to what Gatsby is.

Carey Mulligan as Daisy Buchanan

Daisy

The more I think about it, the more I liked Mulligan as Daisy. She did the society princess thing perfectly. She is obviously a very good actress, and I think I will have to find some more movies where she is in to confirm this notion.

Toby Maguire as Nick Carraway

Nick Carraway

I have never been a fan of Toby Maguire, but he was very pleasant in the Great Gatsby. He is perfect to play Nick, and he did a good job playing the young, naive man caught up in Rich People Drama.

If you can, read the book before watching this. It is wonderful to see how loyal the movie is to it.

My review on the book is here