So one of my biggest problems with Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby (and I had so many big problems with the movie) was Myrtle Wilson. I think Isla Fisher did a great job, don’t get me wrong, but she was not the right person to play Myrtle.
Descriptions of Myrtle from the book:
“the thickish figure of a women blocked out the light…she was in the middle thirties, and faintly stout. Her face…contained no facet or gleam of beauty but there was an immediately perceptible vitality…”
“She had changed her dress to a brown muslin which stretched tight over her rather wide hips.”
Myrtle is not supposed to be thin or pretty (we can even go into talks about how she foils the “slender” and gorgeous Daisy but that’s not explicitly in the text) but here is Isla, definitely skinny and conventionally attractive.
This is a problem not because I need the move to exactly follow the book (although it would’ve been nice if the themes of the movie matched the themes of the book…or if the movie didn’t make the whole story into just some goddamn love story OR IF EVERY REVIEW DIDN’T CALL THEM “STARCROSSED LOVERS), but because *almost* every important female role is given to a (white) thin beautiful woman EVEN WHEN THE ROLE SPECIFICALLY CALLS FOR SOMEONE ELSE. There is not room in the “important” American stories for any other women besides skinny and gorgeous women (who are white and cis.)
Or, if we go the other route, this is supposed to be a chunky/fat/voluptuous woman (I mean she is bigger than Daisy, kinda, right?) aka the acceptable version of a thick, stout, wide hipped woman…which is another way of telling loads of women that they are too big.
When I heard they were making a move, I was excited about the casting of Myrtle, and was super disappointed when, yet again, the roles are homogenized.
There’s also a (more important) conversation that needs to be have about how Black people were used as props in the movie, the portrayal of Meyer Wolfsheim, and the use of the k-word but a) that deserves more than the footnotes of a small rant on bodies and b) it’s not exactly my place.
I’m trying to hold back from writing several long posts explaining everything that was wrong with the movie from both the lens of the book and the sociocultural perspective. It just…was so bad. SO BAD.
LIKE REALLY THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO THINK MAKING NICK AN ALCOHOLIC WHO IS WRITING THE BOOK WHILE IN A “SANITORIUM” WAS A GOOD IDEA…ARE YOU KIDDING? Nick /=/ Fitzgerald and Nick was not a fucking writer aka why are we still having the conversation where people think that the narrator of a book and author are the same thing. IT IS NOT AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY the narrator is a tool and IS NOT A FUCKING REAL PERSON.
tl;dr The Great Gatsby movie sucked and no one should like it.
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