Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Is "Slow West" a Retelling of "The Great Gatsby"?

While hosting the read-along for The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald this summer, I happened to re-watch Slow West (2015) one evening.  And while watching it, I realized there are a TON of similarities between the two stories.  I'm wondering if anyone else thinks so too.

(There are lots of spoilers here and I'm not marking them, just so you know.)

Jay Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Jay Cavendish (Kodi Smit-McPhee)

Gatsby is about a dreamer named Jay who loves a girl named Daisy.  West is about a dreamer named Jay who loves a girl named Rose.

Both Jay Gatsby and Jay Cavendish go to extreme lengths to chase down the flower-named girl they dream of.

Rose (Caren Pistorius) and Daisy (Carey Mulligan)

And both Daisy and Rose don't actually love the Jay who loves them.

There's a scene in Gatsby where Jay reaches for the light on the end of Daisy's dock across the water.  There's a scene in West where Jay reaches for the stars above him.

Both Jay Gatsby and Jay Cavendish die of a gunshot wound.  Both of them are killed over a case of  mistaken identity -- Wilson shoots Gatsby because he thinks Gatsby killed his wife.  Rose shoots Cavendish because she thinks he's one of the bounty hunters come to kill her.

Both The Great Gatsby and Slow West are narrated by an unreliable character who both admires and looks down on the character named Jay.

Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire) and Silas Selleck (Michael Fassbender)

And both stories revolve around class conflict.  Gatsby has a rich girl loved by a poor boy, and West has a poor girl loved by a rich boy.

Maybe I'm just seeing things, or I'm very drawn to stories with these themes, so of course I see parallels?  I don't know!  But I thought it was cool.


  1. So, the woman Jay Cavandash loves winds up shooting him in a case of mistaken identity?!?

    Dang, that's tough, old sport. :P

    1. *pops up* Life is pain, and anybody who tells you differently is selling something.


    2. Stop that rhyming now, I mean it!

    3. (Oh man, if/when I get to see The Princess Bride in the theater next month and post about it, you people are going to have way too much fun.)

      Charity, you made me chuckle aloud.

      Jessica, that is probably my favorite (and most-quoted) line from TPB. <3

    4. If you have not heard / read Cary Elwes' account of filming TPB, you should. He literally had me laughing out loud at several points.

    5. Charity, it's been on my TBR list since it came out, but I haven't gotten to it yet. This fall would be a good time, huh? I'll see if I can get it from the library.

  2. Whoa. That's . . . fascinating.

    You're REALLY GOOD at seeing parallels between stories!!! I'm definitely not as good at it as you are. Even if I were super familiar with these two (which I'm not), I wouldn't have thought of this.

    1. Jessica, maybe that's because I look for them? I don't know! Because I'm attracted to patterns?

      Or because when I study a story, be it book or movie, I reeeeeeally study it, and then I start to see stuff I wouldn't otherwise?

      Dunno. But thanks!

  3. There's only one problem with this comparison. Payne has no counterpart in Gatsby and so I get no pics to grin at.


    No seriously, this is a great post, and I love the similarities you point out. Daisy is even the one who gets Gatsby killed, as she's the one who hits Myrtle. Man, watch out for flower-named ladies, if your first name is Jay!

    I said "Let's drift" the other night to M at the store, but he as like, Huh?

    1. DKoren, well, Payne a little bit parallels Meyer Wolfsheim, in that he's a shady former mentor for one of the characters. But he's Silas', not Jay's, so it doesn't fit quite perfectly enough.

      But hey, you got a pic of Ben Mendelsohn in your inbox while I finished this post, so don't complain too much :-)

      M is silly. My kids are the same. Oh well.


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