Last weekend, Erin and I had the opportunity to go out together and see The Great Gatsby in 3-D. We were pumped because, like many Americans, we had read the book back in high school, but forgotten just enough of the plot to be surprised. Plus, the trailer was so epic that we had to experience the film.
Leading up to it, I talked with friends that had already seen the movie, and all of their responses were strange. They said things like, “I’m not sure if I liked it or not,” or “It was weird.” It was as if they couldn’t figure out how they felt about it.
I didn’t understand their uncertainty until I sat there in the theater, watching the final credits roll at the movie’s conclusion. I was completely unsettled. Emotionally torn. Just like my friends, I sat there confused.
There was incredible acting (Dicaprio was made for this role), beautiful cinematography, and superb music (mostly hip hop). It had all the right ingredients, but I sat there unsure if what they created together was good at all.
Then it hit me. The cause of the confusion boiled down to one thing: There’s no redemption in the end.
I won’t go into detail because I don’t want to spoil it for those unfamiliar with the story. But that’s really it. This tale offers no hero, no victory, and no redemption for us to grab hold of, and that’s why it’s so unsettling.
It’s the lack of redemption that makes the story of Gatsby so profound and provocative! It reveals our deep longing for redemption, for heroes to emerge, for things to be made right. Our humanity cries out, “Just give us something redemptive to cling to at the end!”
But Gatsby gives no such thing. And for this reason, it’s brilliant. It tells the truth of life without a greater hope or meaning. It honestly portrays the selfishness of humanity. And it leaves you right there in the middle of it. In that mess, I personally found myself full of gratitude for Jesus, for redemption, and for the hope and meaning we find in following Him. #LiveFully