Ta-Nehisi is wary of the upcoming Great Gatsby adaptation:
As in so many of the books I love, I found the plot in Gatsby’ to almost be beside the point. Whenever I see it translated to cinema, the film-maker inevitably crafts a story of doomed romance between Daisy and Gatsby. It’s obviously true that Gatsby holds some sort of flame for Daisy, but what makes the book run (for me) is the ambiguity of that flame. Does he really love her? Or is she just another possession signaling the climb up? I always felt that last pointthe climb upwas much more important than the romance. What I remember about Gatsby is the unread books. His alleged love for Daisy barely registers for me.
I think it might be interesting to see a movie very loosely inspired by Gatsby,’ much like it’s interesting to see poems inspired by paintings. But every poem shouldn’t be made a painting. Art is not necessarily made better by literalization. I’m not convinced that “The Great Gatsby” works without those pockets of imagination which make the written word, still, a unique experience.
Douthat defends the flick.