directed by Derek Cianfrance
It’s a hipster fantasy come true. A train wreck of a relationship. Ryan Gosling singing. A soundtrack by Grizzly Bear. Sidewalk tap dancing. Ryan Gosling saying “rad.” I would have hated it if I didn’t love it so much. Derek Cianfrance, serving up a painful slice of life in the form of a romantic deterioration, seeks to lay it all out on the metaphorical table. Blue Valentine is a labor of emotion, and the evidence of it permeates every frame. Michelle Williams is a wonder as Cindy, who falls for Dean (a solid Ryan Gosling), the Rocky Balboa slash Jim Stark love child who sings like a bruised angel and claims death is for suckers. The feel good film of the year it is not, but for me it resonates and taps an ache I’ve long felt. I could feel the humidity level rise in the auditorium almost instantly (Get it? From the tears?), but I got the impression that more than a few women weeping around me were mourning the loss of Gosling’s hairline (it was only makeup, people!).
I feel compelled to take this opportunity to make my desperate plea to Mr. Baz Luhrmann. For the love of God, Mr. L, listen to the advice of the universe and do not, I repeat, DO NOT film your version of The Great Gatsby in 3D. I have made my peace with the fact that Baz will be directing an over the top, overly emotional version of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s monumental novel, but I need to make my recommendations for casting (like all good, self important film geeks). The role of Daisy needs to be played by Rachel McAdams, no question. Casey Affleck, Mark Ruffalo or Joseph Gordon Levitt would be great Nicks, and the part of Gatsby could only be played by one person, Ryan Gosling, and I will explain why: Gosling is the only actor who possesses the necessary qualities to play Gatsby: he’s the right age, and Nick (Fitzgerald’s narrator) described Gatsby’s smile as having the power to blot out the rest of the world, to make you feel like the warm little glow around which the universe cleaves. Sounds like Gosling to me. Bradley Cooper would make a great Tom Buchanan, and the role would actually give him an opportunity to flex his acting chops. Personally, I would love to see Tom Hardy as Tom (he has really blossomed into an amazing talent). Jordan Baker has to be played by Ellen Page. I mean, come on, who else could it be? If Jordan Ladd was just a little better of an actress, she would make a great Myrtle Wilson, and for some reason I see George as being older than her, like Elias Koteas or Michael Shannon. If I am going to get ultra delusional and really plot my dream scenario, I would give the project to someone who really understands the complexities of “civility”. Someone like Sam Mendes or Robert Altman (yes, I do know that he died), or even Wes Anderson or Alfonso Cuaron as the wild cards who would swing for the fences.
So there you have it folks. What would your dream line up for The Great Gatsby look like?