dreams of the great gatsby

last weekend i went to see the movie “the great gatsby”, the movie that was advertised for a while now, and i thought it could be worth watching it in the cinema. so, we went to see it; even though we were in vienna (where english movies are translated in german), we found it in english.

i have to admit, my expectations were high, since i was quite taken by the book. and i also have to say, i wasn’t deceived. the movie was so dreamy, it made me think about the 20ties, those parties, lovely dresses and about new york as it used to be back then. i found it quite interesting how they used the contemporary music & adapted it to the 20ties’ style. i also recalled couple of quotes i wrote down when i was reading the book “the great gatsby”. i was equally moved when i heard them on the movie as i was when i read them.

19_great gatsby

the first quote is the first sentence of the book:

“in my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that i’ve been turning over in my mind ever since. “whenever you feel like criticizing anyone,” he told me, “just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.””

when i first read this sentence i asked myself if this is an advice or a warning against criticism. it seems like a warning, but there is no direct injunction against criticism, just the reminder about inequality when “feeling like criticizing anyone.” i guess we should all keep this in mind when we start criticizing or judging someone. we never know what this person has been through or where did he/she come from.

“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 external world for an instant, and then concentrated on you with an irresistible prejudice in your favor. 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.”

gatsby’s smile seems to be an important part his character, it is a result of the combination of hope and imagination. here the focus is on the ability to make anyone he smiles at feel as though he has chosen that person out of “the whole external world,” reflecting that person’s most optimistic conception of him- or herself. i wish there are more people like that nowadays, i wish we could all give each other support, hope and optimism, because.. we sure do need them.

“gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. it eluded us then, but that’s no matter — tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther.. and then one fine morning—
so we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past..”

the novel is concluded with these words. it reminds us on the importance of the past to dreams of the future, here represented by the green light. the focus is on the one’s struggle to achieve his/her goals by both transcending and re-creating the past. however, most of the people prove themselves unable to move beyond the past: in the metaphoric language used here, the current draws us backward as we try to reach the green light.

as i walked out of the cinema, i felt a combination of hope and nostalgia. i remembered the old times & the old issues and i wondered if i managed to surpass them. well, i have to admit, some scars have remained, somewhere deep down.. but i don’t give up.. i believe the best is yet to come.

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