Vulnerability is irresistible. I went to see the Great Gatsby a couple of nights ago and now I am obsessed! Not only was the cinematography lush, vibrant and multi-layered, but the music was chosen with such precision that it should be named as best supporting role! The soundtrack of the movie has become as talked about as the acting itself. The songs and their placement enhanced every single scene. Even though the story was set in the roaring 1920’s, the conflicts and hopes of the characters are timeless and that is why the modern music makes such a contribution to the mood. Rather than choose music with a retro style, Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby chose the songs on the soundtrack based on the feeling, not the era. The song choices so perfectly linked that when heard outside of the theater, they still evoke the feelings from the scene. The acting by Leonardo DiCaprio was absurdly good. He transformed a scene with the slightest creasing of his brow, a deep sigh, a pause. Jay Gatsby is driven, patient and at times over the top with his need to create his perfect life. The most irresistible thing about the movie is the vulnerability that is shown in Jay Gatsby’s character, a man of great success and influence but incomplete… searching to recapture lost love and friendship. This vulnerability is how we get vested in his success and in his human-ness, we find ourselves rooting for him to have it all in the end. I don’t want to go back and retell the story because you just have to go see this movie for yourself. This modern and edgy interpretation is not your high school book version of The Great Gatsby! Treat yourself to a superb, albeit fantastical version of one of the most famous stories of the drama and intrigue of the life in excess during the 1920’s… and then hurry and download the soundtrack!
Reading was my first love. I cannot remember the actual moment that I fell in love. I know it wasn’t when I was very young. I know it wasn’t when I was still being read to. It didn’t actually happen the minute I began to read on my own. It could have been a gradual falling, a getting acquainted and settling down deep kind of love. It started later, when I actually had the book in my hand, eyes on the page, reading as quickly as possible to find out what happened next, while at the same time forcing myself to read slowly so I could make it last. You readers out there know what I am talking about…the turtle-paced-speed-reading towards the end of a book! It could have happened when I laughed out loud in a room with only me and the book or when I wanted to scream “Don’t do it!” at the black and white pages. It could have happened when tears welled up in my eyes, glued to the words on a page as Della cut her beautiful hair and Jim sold his grandfather’s watch on Christmas. It could have happened when I spent countless summer hours on our screened porch lost in the heather of Thrushcross Grange. It could have happened when I felt a state of panic trying to find out if Maxim really killed Rebecca or better yet, if he did, would anyone find out? It could have happened when Alexander Dumas showed how sweet revenge could be and that buried treasures really do exist. It could have happened when I followed Santiago on his simple journey through the desert and came out the other side a better version of myself. It could have happened when the entire household was asleep, my eyes bleary (a cross between blurry and weary) but finding I could not let go until I read if Katniss and Peeta would eat the berries. It could have happened when Alexander and Tatiana barely survived WW II in Russia and what came next for them and many immigrants to the USA. I am not exactly sure when I fell in love with reading but once I did, it was irrevocably part of me! Cooking, cleaning and sleep are hopeless against a good book! Carpool lines, kids practices that go long and plane rides are my book’s best friends! Thick or thin, historical or post apocalyptic, simple or complex, they are all welcome in my library. There are some books that I have even read several times because I just need to visit there once and again, like a favorite vacation spot that you go back to each year. I have never actually seen a movie that is better than the book. And sometimes if I have loved a book, I am actually scared to see the movie! It is said that a reader lives a thousand lives before he dies and a man who doesn’t read, only one. If you ask a reader what their favorite book is, you may find yourself sitting a while listening to the answer because well, there are so many that we could write a book! Reading can open our world to lives beyond our own. Beautiful, sad, silly, enchanted, tragic, epic, adventurous… Oh, the places you’ll go when you open a book! Gotta run, if I hurry I can get a couple of pages in before lunch is over!
Books mentioned in this post (a few favorites but of course, there are many more):
Gift of the Magi by O. Henry
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas
The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons
Oh, The Places You’ll Go by Dr. Suess