It was a required read when I was in High School and we were also forced to watch the film adaptation staring Robert Redford. I was 17 and wasn't thrilled with either. But when I saw the movie trailer for the newest go at bringing Fitzgerald's most recognized novel to the big screen, I knew I had to give it a re-read. I was glad I did.
During my re-read (this time reading on my kindle instead of a crumpled and worn paperback shared by hundreds of other 11th graders) I finally understood the power of the novel, understood it's ability to remain relevant. Grasped its tragedy.
The Great Gatsby is a love story. The Great Gatsby is a tragedy. To call is Shakespearian may be taking things too far, but the similarity is there. It's not Romeo and Juliet, but it walks a parallel road.
The thing I find most interesting about the book is the many different views of Gatsby. Some find him to be the Good Guy, some the Bad Guy. Some root for him, some against him. Some find his obsessive love for Daisy to be endearing, sweet, a kind of love they wish their own lovers had for them; others think Gatsby crazy, disillusioned. Some just flat out think he's a gangster who's gone to great and terrible lengths to get what he wants.
Give the book a read and see what you think.
Now, to the film:
Not in a long time have I seen a film version of a book hit the nail as spot on as this one. Artistically it is over the top in best way possible, capturing the feeling of wealth and nobility in the novel. And DiCaprio brings Gatsby to life just the way I imagined him. Add in Jay-Z's score and you've got a winner of a film. If you liked the book, you owe it to yourself to at least watch this movie once.