The Great Gatsby

I finally went and saw The Great Gatsby at the pictures last night and I am glad that I did.

First up, was it spectacular cinema?  What Baz Lurhmann film isn’t?

Look at it this way, when you have more special effects crew than cast, and enough to populate a small town, with Baz Lurhmann and the fabulous Catherine Martin at the helm, how can it be anything else?

But what of the story?

If I was irritated by Gatsby’s repetitive fondness for the phrase “old sport,”  bandied about like Kevin Rudd trying out Australianisms to suck up to voters at a barbeque, then at least Buchanan took him to task over his right to its utterance.  Fair suck of the sav, we get that it’s an idiologism of the 1920s, we see that it’s the 1920s, what more do you want?

As Nick Caraway says of Daisy and Tom Buchanan at the end, “They were careless people.”  Did I care about these characters?

Daisy had a heart, for sure, and Nick too.  It took me a while to warm to Jay Gatsby, and it wasn’t really until he revealed his love for lost love Daisy, and thus began unravelling in his pursuit of her, that I cared indeed for Gatsby himself.  By the end, who did I care most for?  Nick, and Gatsby himself.  I’m interested in anybody who chases and does all he or she can for love.


Will I watch The Great Gatsby again?  Thinking about it.

Does seeing this latest cinematic reinterpretation make me want to read F. Scott Fitzgerald’s original novel?






Heroic Scope: Imagine

Growing up, my heroes were fish-out-of water girls with a propensity for getting into trouble and slaying dragons.

How exciting to be the spitting image of The Terribly Plain Princess (author Pamela Oldfield), who fought dragons and saved a prince.  Then L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables revealed a little girl with bright red hair like me, who also fell into trouble on a daily basis:  albeit on Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia,  an island far from my family’s outback sheep and cattle station in Australia.

I shared Anne’s beloved ‘scope for the imagination.’ My parents encouraged mine through bush yarns, playing mostly outdoors, and bags of library books which arrived on the weekly mail plane.  At one stage, Mum sacrificed her town library book order to keep up with the demand.

Anne and I grew up writing naturally.  But outback Edwardian fringe rebel, Sybylla Melvin, the bush governess with fire-stung heart and tongue, and stories to tell, inflamed my teenaged literary passion. After watching Gillian Armstrong’s feature film adaptation of Miles Franklin’s My Brilliant Career at the Broken Hill drive-in at age seven, it was a pleasure to discover the originating novel years later.

Stella Maria Sarah Miles Franklin.  What a writer’s name, all those delicious esses[sic]. I practised my flamboyant autograph in case anybody should ever need it, with visions of one day folding my novel manuscript in a Romantic brown paper parcel, tying it with string, and posting it off in the sunset to a city publisher.

I fantasised my way through a series of teenaged crushes, despite my ardent feminism and aspirations to become an Oscar-winning actor, a writer, and Australia’s first female prime minister.  Sybylla’s determination to publish her book, even at the cost of True Love, and its sequel, My Career Goes Bung, offered an equally spirited parallel, even if I was yet to discover that such a battle of the heart existed.

Sybylla foreswore the temptations of Mr Almost-Right, to follow her vocation. ‘Field research’ revealed that I too would let no man come between me and my writing.  Not for love.  Not for anything.

But Anne gives me heart.

c. Kylie Lawrence 2010


love belongs to all

at least once

in a life