Trailer: ‘The Great Gatsby’ and restlessness that approaches hysteria

F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote about New York in the 1920’s: “The restlessness approached hysteria. The parties were bigger. The pace was faster, the shows were broader, the buildings were higher, the morals were looser, and the liquor was cheaper.”

It’s a perfect quote to accompany the movie based on his novel The Great Gatsby. Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan, and Joel Edgerton, the film comes out Christmas Day. Plenty of time to reread the book. (Or read it for the first time if you just cribbed notes in school!)

The modern music over the Art Deco styles at first seems offputting, but I love how it relates that hysteria to modern day. Are we reliving the 1920’s?

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!

What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Would that we were reliving the 1920’s…

    Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby depicts a world of wealth and privilege reveling in its new-found “freedom” from moral constraints. This moral decay had started much earlier in Europe–centuries earlier one might argue. It is discernible in Jane Austen as well as in Trollope. Fitzgerald’s portrait of the “bright young things” of America (compare Evelyn Waugh’s Vile Bodies) is a portrait of self-indulgence and libertinism in its first flowering. For us today, the flower has shriveled and drooped. The process of moral and cultural decay has reached a far deeper level of rot. Baz Luhrman’s film seems rather pathetically to want to look back upon the 1920’s as a golden age, and upon Gatsby as the apotheosis of romantic grandeur (with U2 strumming absurdly away in the background).

    One expects that Fitzgerald’s critique of erotic love in The Great Gatsby, of the way in which our idolizing of the romantic object turns both lover and beloved into demons, will not have much of a role to play in this film.

  • Rebecca Cusey

    I think you’re right about Fitzgerald’s critique. It remains to be seen if the movie is faithful to that critique. Often what’s in trailers to get people to the theaters is different than the movie itself. I’m optimistic.