The sad thing about a blockbuster film being made of a book you’re fond of is your imagination of the characters gets usurped. In my head Gatsby was this elusive mélange of every ice-cold cat I’d ever encountered or seen a photo of once, all the more mystical because I’d have trouble describing how he appeared to me, except any time Fitzgerald conjured him on a page, and once more he’d enter stage right and reassemble in my head.
But now, try as I might, Gatsby is Leonardo di Caprio. Films make everything concrete, which cheapens the thrill of books, that they reside in your head. The love affair between you and your brain and the words lighting a spark in your imagination. Rather than you and fifty eight other popcorn-chomping profiles in silhouette watching Leo beam at you through 3D glasses.
Hey Leo, good luck with the following, seriously.
He smiled understandingly – much more than understandingly. It was one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it, that you may come across four or five times in life. It faced – or seemed to face – the whole eternal world for an instant, and then concentrated on you with an irresistible prejudice in your favour. It understood you just as far as you wanted to be understood, believed in you as you would like to believe in yourself, and assured you that it had precisely the impression of you that, at your best, you hoped to convey.
F Scott Fitzgerald 1896-1940