As an English major I read and studied the novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald a long time ago, in college. I really didn't get it. Saying that makes me realize once again that education is often wasted on the young. How do we relate when we have had no real life experiences ourselves, and our background knowledge of history and social change in limited by our at most twenty years of life?
I know this is considered one of the great American novels, but like so many other great works of fiction, the characters seemed so consumed by their fatal flaws as to be unlikable, and the outcomes were always depressing.
I saw the 1974 version of the movie, with Robert Redford and Mia Farrow and was left with much the same feeling as the novel: desperate people doing desperate things to the point of destruction.
Forgive me, but I like good story telling. And contrary to the opinion of many movie critics, I think this movie version is just that - good story telling. In text it was true to the novel, but this is big screen movie making in 2013 technological style. It is beautiful! The music is from mixed eras. The costuming is wonderful. The big screen sets are computer generated and are gorgeous, if fantastical. And the story line is so clear that I finally understand fully what the book is about.
Sure, it may be simplified, lacking in deeper emotion, a travesty to literature snobs, but these characters are understood, and sometimes even likable!
What can I say? I went to the theater, paid my money, and was well entertained for two hours. That's all I ask.