Why You Should Ignore The Cynics And Go See Gatsby

Honestly, I don’t know what’s wrong with people these days – we all seem to expect every piece of pop culture we consume to be heavily laced with irony. That’s fine, if you care about being cool, but what about just being happy? Having fun?

This is why Iron Maiden fans have been scientificially proven* to be immune to the culture of self-consciousness that’s sweeping the world and why I think you should see The Great Gatsby with your Amaro filter switched off.


gatsby2I never fancied Leonardo DiCaprio when I was a teen – just didn’t get the greasy-curtains-baby-face thing – I was more into Keanu. But Leo is amazing as Jay Gatsby – charismatic, childish, eager, mysterious, often funny and very beautiful – like the earnest, star-crossed lover he played in Baz Lurhmann’s Romeo + Juliet all grown up – still golden, but slightly tarnished.

He also looks really young – Gatsby is meant to be 32 and Leo is 38, but he looks lean and lithe in his snappy duds – high-waisted trousers, preppy sweaters, cool silk/cotton suits in candy421564 pink, – just like the sportsman and former college boy Gatsby would love to be.

In fact, with Baz at the helm for both films it’s clear why he chose Leo to play Gatsby (a casting decision I’d found rather confusing initially) – he’s still Romeo, single-minded in his obsessive love for a girl who can’t possibly live up to his expectations, because the real life Juliet/Daisy could never compete with the fantasy version that he’s cherished in his heart and imagination for so long.

A tale of two Leos

A tale of two Leos

The Gatsby/Romeo/Lurhmann love-in chimes perfectly with the waves of ’90s nostalgia we’re currently surfing and it actually helps me make sense of it all a little bit more. Yeah, I know I said the ’90s were fun-not-cool, but maybe, looking back, they were pretty cool.

Liv Tyler reminiscing on Into The Gloss about how much fun she and Gwynnie and chums used to have on the red carpet in their ratty vintage furs and make-up-free faces reminded me that this was maybe a more sincere time – and is it coincidence that it was pre-internet? Anyway…


It’s a proper, old-fashioned bad romance – so many fictional characters meet their downfall while chasing a dream (I’m thinking of Newland Archer in The Age of Innocence, but his ‘doom’ is just a comfy, stultifying life in New York high society) and I think it should be enjoyed in that spirit.

Sure you can sneer at the sentimental scenes – and many of the jaded, cooler-than-thou hacks at the press screen I attended did – but that was their loss. Sometimes it’s nice to give in to a lush, lavishly-costumed spectacle of a film with beautiful people melodramatically grappling with their fates (and each other).

So much gorgeousness

So much gorgeousness

So I’m enjoying my post-cool Leo crush with no shame. With that same lock of hair falling into those deep blue-green eyes, he’s still the golden boy of the ’90s, just a little wiser and sadder and therefore a great Gatsby.

*not really

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Co-founder and co-editor of Pamflet. Bookworm, bluestocking, Brown Owl. Loves Garconnes style, reading, writing, ranting and raving. Gin snob.
About phoebe:

Co-founder and co-editor of Pamflet. Bookworm, bluestocking, Brown Owl. Loves Garconnes style, reading, writing, ranting and raving. Gin snob.

Find all posts by phoebe


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