The lush, lavish and raucous The Great Gatsby excels at making its point that nothing – absolutely nothing – was too deliriously large, expansive or optimistic for Jay Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio). That “J” on his business card? It’s simply a stand-in for Jupiter.
Baz Luhrmann’s 3-D adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel focuses on a Gatsby who stunningly personifies archetypal Jupiter. Born poor, the title character’s way out is to become bigger and grander (Jupiter, the largest planet) with the required assets to secure his beloved Daisy’s (Carey Mulligan) hand in marriage. Turns out Daisy doesn’t wait around. She weds the wealthier option, Tom Buchanan (Joel Edgerton). Gatsby never relinquishes the torch.
Ever optimistic – Jupiterians earnestly believe everything will work out – Gatsby is convinced his ornate house and new Roaring Twenties prosperity, from bootlegging, is all that’s needed for Daisy to declare she never stopped loving him, and leave her unfaithful husband (Isla Fisher plays Tom’s mistress, Myrtle).
What trips Gatsby up is his unwillingness to shed the materially benevolent “Santa Claus” side of Jupiter and embrace the planet’s religious, philosophical and priestly qualities. Refusing the wisdom (Jupiter) that a permanent reunion with Daisy will never happen, Gatsby himself becomes the focus of judgment via those big-eyes-from-on-high in the spooky oculist billboard. One’s true Jupiter must always be reckoned with.
Gatsby’s exploits here, as in the novel, are recounted by Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire), whom we meet at a sanitarium at the beginning of the movie. Undergoing treatment for his alcoholism, several years after his escapades with Gatsby, Nick is encouraged by his therapist to write about this larger-than-life figure, whom Nick calls “the single most hopeful (Jupiter) person I’ve ever met and am likely to meet again.”
In the movie’s final frames, Nick’s adding the words “The Great” to precede the original title “Gatsby” says it all. Sometimes more is more.
Astrology Film Rating: ♃ (Jupiter)