Why The Great Gatsby Isn’t Actually the Greatest Film of the 21st Century


Jayleigh Draper, Editor in Chief

Back in my Sophomore year, right before COVID hit, I wrote an article titled “Why The Great Gatsby Is the Greatest Film of the 21st Century”. You can read it here. I wrote it whilst half asleep and to be honest, it is my favorite article to this date. While I do still very much enjoy the movie, I no long er believe that it is the greatest of the 21st century. I seem to have forgotten about the existence of The Lovely Bones.

When I was about 7 years old, my mom turned on this strange movie with a girl in a very grassy field. She was running, screaming desperately for some boy standing in a gazebo. I was overtaken with confusion and a very slight sense of fear, but I watched. I didn’t have a clue what was happening, but I watched.

Once I could comprehend the movie, I loved it.

The cast is one that I have seen in several other popular movies and shows. For example, Saiorse Ronan is in the popular film, Lady Bird. Susan Sarandon acts in one of the most famous movies in pop culture, The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Rose McIver is displayed in what I have seen to be a Netflix favorite, iZombie. Don’t quote me on that “Netflix favorite” thing, though. Full of talented actresses and actors, The Lovely Bones does a great job at making you feel things that you honestly probable never want to feel.

The beginning of the movie begins with a rather dreamlike state, Susie rides around on her bike while her family talks to their neighbor, Mr. Harvey. She snaps pictures everywhere, capturing whatever she can. With her laughter echoing everywhere, this scene is slightly disorienting for viewers. That might also just be my anxiety. Either way, I think it is one of my favorite scenes from the movie. Of course, like any drama, there is tons of foreshadowing that viewers may be able to pick up on. I say may because I had already read the book after seeing the movie at a young age and I already knew who did what because of obvious things that a seven-year-old can pick up. I have consumed this movie and its book way too much for a normal person.

I won’t spoil anything for those who haven’t seen this movie, but Susie dies. She says it in the beginning, so there’s not much of a surprise factor when she ends up getting murdered. It’s tense, though. I personally find the scene of her being in the situation that gets her killed incredibly disturbing, as there is a sense of trust being broken in this scene. I’ll be honest, too; it made me never want to look at a person for too long ever again. Unless I just really hate a person, I will immediately look away after looking at them for more than two seconds. Moving on, this scene turns into Susie seemingly escaping. She runs down the street, screaming for people. There is fog and some really bright light, too bright for the moon, once again mildly disorienting for the viewers. The disorientation in this movie is something that I really enjoy, because it makes me feel like I am with Susie in the movie. It’s horrifying, really.

In the time of Susie’s, let’s say kidnapping for now, her parents begin to become extremely worried of her whereabouts. They call the police, but because it had not been 24 hours, there was nothing that they could do. Her dad goes out with a picture of her, asking people if they had seen his girl. Everyone, of course, is utterly useless because none of them had seen her. Susie is there. To her, her dad is all alone, no one is around them while she calls out for him but appears to be ignoring her. This is an extension of the scene in which Susie is running around frantically looking for everyone while no one seems to be around., so of course it is also incredibly disorienting and pretty sad. I personally love that about this movie.  Everything is done in such a degree that it puts the viewer straight into the movie, from the fog to the lights to the very acting portrayed on the screen, I do believe this movie is perfect.

I think that this movie is mostly about Susie accepting death and what will happen to her killer as opposed to her actual murder. Of course, there are still tons of scenes of her family working with the police to get their daughter and sister back, but we all know how that will eventually and unfortunately end up. However, the movie mainly focuses on Susie, she is the main character, after all. She goes through a journey with the other young girls who have been killed by the very same person. They have all found their peace with their situation as they look over their families and live amongst each other in solitude. Susie appears to, rightfully so, have a difficult time accepting her own murder. She misses her family, she misses her friends, she misses living. Every time I watch this movie, I feel absolutely devastated for her. Eventually, she does accept her death, and of course it’s great for her. The burden of hate is essentially at the back of her mind and off of her shoulders. Why wouldn’t she hate the very person who had taken her life?

My absolute favorite scene is the one in which she is running towards the boy who asked her on a date. Of course, it’s a weird scene as she is dead and he has no idea that she can see him, but I love it. She is in the meadow in her heaven, while he is standing in the gazebo that is in their mall. She runs toward him, screaming his name in hopes to get to him, but the meadow turns into water and she is unable to even get to the gazebo. Of course, this makes her journey to acceptance even more difficult, as it meant that she would never have love again, but it does not stop it. I really enjoy this scene as much as I do because you can feel the emotions so clearly. Susie’s hurt, confusion, and frustration are so vivid in it that you can’t help but place yourself with her as you watch.

The Lovely Bones is a great movie, however it may be disturbing to some people who would rather not see the death of a fourteen year old girl and have to see her killer get away with it for so long. There are also many tense scenes, of course I love them all to death, so if you find yourself to be a highly anxious person, please watch this movie with caution. I’m fairly sure it can cause panic attacks if you are not careful.