Warner Bros. Pictures | Release Date: May 10, 2013
7.3
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Generally favorable reviews based on 774 Ratings
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10
GreenlemonadeMay 10, 2013
Saw this when it opened. Had low expectations because of movie critics who obviously grew up in the wrong era. The quality of the book is revived perfectly; It's a period peace, but transcends period with its subtle hints of modern music andSaw this when it opened. Had low expectations because of movie critics who obviously grew up in the wrong era. The quality of the book is revived perfectly; It's a period peace, but transcends period with its subtle hints of modern music and style. Every actor was perfectly cast. It's heavy use of Art Deco (my favorite architectural style) fills the screen with beauty that reaches for the heavens, however unattainable they were and still are.
Gatsby looks to the past not with nostalgia, but with regret of what was and what will never be.

p.s. I am usually very anti-3d but this movies 3d really pulls you into the grandness of it all.
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26 of 36 users found this helpful2610
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8
ExpectonerDec 30, 2013
A great story, with great actors, with a amazing director, with good spécial effects !
Well why give an 8 then ?
Cause i realy dont like RNB music in a Film who the action is in 1930 ...
Except this it's a very good film
2 of 2 users found this helpful20
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8
jasonbowden1000Oct 13, 2013
Easily superior to both the 1974 and 1949 films, a gaudy, fast, noisy, overloaded, gorgeously detailed style matches the novel's smashed up atmosphere of distortion and excess. Convincing performances from the entire cast render charactersEasily superior to both the 1974 and 1949 films, a gaudy, fast, noisy, overloaded, gorgeously detailed style matches the novel's smashed up atmosphere of distortion and excess. Convincing performances from the entire cast render characters more lifelike than the novel. While it could be a perfect film, the director created a blemish by making the story Romeo and Juliet, when it is meant as Don Quixote. The almost cubist, many-sided Gatsby is more than a schmoozing opportunist because of his capacity for illusion that's what makes him "great" leaving him more than a little absurd in the emerging modernist world. He can't see that his earnest, midwestern, pioneering spirit now reaches for something fundamentally careless, insincere, and artificial, like Daisy Buchanan; this movie wrongly gives the impression of tragically unconsummated mutual devotion. While the forest is missed for the trees, this is still a very very fun movie, especially the mashed up styles in the soundtrack. Expand
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8
eagleeyevikingNov 29, 2013
A surprising emotional scope blended with good cinematography, a great soundtrack and very stylish direction gives The Great Gatsby a grand overall feel.
2 of 2 users found this helpful20
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9
Aquaris475Sep 22, 2013
When I saw this movie, I had no idea what to expect. I mainly wanted to see this because of its ensemble cast, but after watching it, I can safely say it is so far 2013's best film. I found the story of the film to be pretty well written.When I saw this movie, I had no idea what to expect. I mainly wanted to see this because of its ensemble cast, but after watching it, I can safely say it is so far 2013's best film. I found the story of the film to be pretty well written. It's very interesting, and with its fine acting, the film kept me off the edge of my seat, anticipating what will happen next. I have yet to read the book, so I have no idea how much it stays true to the source novel. The cast does a great job as their roles. Leonardo and Toby kill it as their roles, as they are the best actors in the entire film. The rest does great as well, though I think that some actors had potential to do more in the film. My favorite aspect of the movie is the visuals and the music. The film is visually exciting, as there are colors all over the place. this is best evident during the party scenes. The music is very catchy, and I constantly find myself humming along to the tunes this film has to offer. Really my only problem with this film certain scenes. I felt that there were a few scenes that were trying to go for something emotional to happen, but it never really got there, let alone didn't try to. For example, the scene where Tom and Myrtle break up could have gone somewhere in the film, but the characters never speak any dialogue again. Aside from these select scenes, The Great Gatsby is visually charming, well acted, and musically catchy, making up for what I believe is the best film of the year so far. Expand
1 of 1 users found this helpful10
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8
BlackfuryRisesJun 11, 2013
Great soundtrack, insane visuals, intense performances, and some good humor to boot. A sick adaptation of Gatsby. It far exceeded my expectations. The critics must be seeing a completely different film than me.
1 of 1 users found this helpful10
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8
keyeleproJun 16, 2013
This movie completely captures the flavor of Fitzgerald's words with the images of Baz Luhrmann. I did not expect it to be REAL. I expected it to be romantic and impressionistic and it was. Strong performance by Leonard Dicaprio. HisThis movie completely captures the flavor of Fitzgerald's words with the images of Baz Luhrmann. I did not expect it to be REAL. I expected it to be romantic and impressionistic and it was. Strong performance by Leonard Dicaprio. His acting and the extravagance of the sets were well worth the price of admission to me. Expand
1 of 1 users found this helpful10
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9
killian13Aug 13, 2013
the great gatsby was a excellent and great movie
this is the best adaptation of fitzgerald's novel
all the cast was excellent especially leonardo dicaprio and tobey maguire
1 of 1 users found this helpful10
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10
maddog1780Jun 22, 2013
Visually stunning, great pace and dramatization. IMO really gets to the core issues Fitzgerald had in mind. Makes you think about your own goals in life and what happiness really is.
1 of 1 users found this helpful10
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10
deemoJun 30, 2013
Great film, everything about the movie was fascinating.. I was kept on edge until the ending which was a complete shock to me, I keep replaying scenes of the movie in my imagination, it's a very impressive film that was very compelling. IGreat film, everything about the movie was fascinating.. I was kept on edge until the ending which was a complete shock to me, I keep replaying scenes of the movie in my imagination, it's a very impressive film that was very compelling. I don't think my words are enough to express how great this film is, go watch it and experience the enjoyment for yourself. I am slightly upset by the number of people that didn't like this film, to say this film doesn't meet your standards is a joke. Expand
1 of 1 users found this helpful10
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9
JgatzAug 31, 2013
As a reader of the F Scott Fitzgerald novel and watcher of the, Robert Redford, film The Great Gatsby I loved the new film. The New film only reinforced my admiration of this timeless story. Green Light
1 of 1 users found this helpful10
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8
RevRonAug 20, 2013
I originally thought I wasn't going to enjoy this film because I feared it was going to be all flash with no substance as the special effects and odd choices of music would be the film's dominating elements. While the film has a lot of flashI originally thought I wasn't going to enjoy this film because I feared it was going to be all flash with no substance as the special effects and odd choices of music would be the film's dominating elements. While the film has a lot of flash and style, it still contained the heart of the novel and it was incredibly addicting and enthralling. Finally, the performances are amazing with Joel Edgerton really being the spotlight stealer in this one! Expand
1 of 1 users found this helpful10
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8
cheeseberger11Oct 19, 2013
Within the first ten minutes of this movie you know its a Baz Luhrman film. Baz tries to throw a modern spin on a 1920's flick in which he successfully executes. The characters were all over-acted which seems to be on purpose and, consideringWithin the first ten minutes of this movie you know its a Baz Luhrman film. Baz tries to throw a modern spin on a 1920's flick in which he successfully executes. The characters were all over-acted which seems to be on purpose and, considering the setting, was appropriate. Leonardo was the perfect man to play as Mr. Jay Gatsby and he executed flawlessly as always. The casting for all the other characters were also done extremely well. The movie did not stray from the infamous novel which was appreciated. Expand
1 of 1 users found this helpful10
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7
AVTRlover41Aug 30, 2013
This was a very decent movie. It was very well-made in my opinion. I thought that the first third was the best part, I loved the party scenes, they were so beautifully made.
1 of 1 users found this helpful10
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9
film_bugAug 13, 2013
Exciting and thought-provoking. A talented cast, along with stunning visuals think Moulin Rouge capture the imagination and curiosity of its viewers. It kept me well at the edge of my seat, guessing and second guessing the charactersExciting and thought-provoking. A talented cast, along with stunning visuals think Moulin Rouge capture the imagination and curiosity of its viewers. It kept me well at the edge of my seat, guessing and second guessing the characters involved. As the story unfolds, "ooo"s and "ahh"s are likely to escape your lips as it did mine. Expand
1 of 1 users found this helpful10
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10
andrewgarcia732Oct 13, 2013
I really didn't know what to expect when I watched this movie, but I can tell you I was at least pleased with the outcome. Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire both did good performances as well. While the film provides an interesting look atI really didn't know what to expect when I watched this movie, but I can tell you I was at least pleased with the outcome. Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire both did good performances as well. While the film provides an interesting look at the height of the "Roaring Twenties" and a devastating look into the dark side of the American dream, it's running time of nearly 21/2 hours and a near-constant bombardment of visual over-stimulation might make the film somewhat exhausting for some. Every bit as visually dazzling as one might expect with it's production, grand sets, scenery, and detailed costume designs. I personally feel that while this film doesn't necessarily belongs to the category of overblown, over-elaborate movies out there, it could have benefited from having a less dazzling tone. All that aside, the plot was good and I felt sad at the end for Gatsby. Whether or not the film is a satisfactory adaptation of the novel I can't say because I haven't read the book.

If you liked this review, please read my other ones on a wide variety of movies and TV shows and mark this review as helpful.
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1 of 1 users found this helpful10
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8
mymediaSep 30, 2013
Be aware going in that this is a Baz Luhrmann movie so there is an interesting twist on the cinematography and music selections. This is an enjoyable movie with a fairly quick pace Quite enjoyable but not for everyone.
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7
Joo_leneOct 27, 2013
The Great Gatsby Baz Luhrmann (May 2013)
Lavish and Extravagant! Director Baz Luhrmann’s 2013 adaptation of The Great Gatsby captured the over the top love story perfectly. Without wasting any time on intros or credits, Luhrmann jumps into
The Great Gatsby Baz Luhrmann (May 2013)
Lavish and Extravagant! Director Baz Luhrmann’s 2013 adaptation of The Great Gatsby captured the over the top love story perfectly. Without wasting any time on intros or credits, Luhrmann jumps into the story line, which does not stick to the traditional sappy love story of happily ever after.
The film was set during the Prohibition-era of the 1920’s, a time where the rich became rich from corruption and greed. The film took place in Long Island between the East Egg and West Egg, through the Valley of Ashes to New York. The narrator, Nick Carraway finds himself caught in the life of money and secrets. Nick is lured into this wasteful life by his mysterious neighbor Gatsby. Jay Gatsby played by Leonardo DiCaprio, recreated himself to be a part of the new money. A man of many Gatsby lived in West egg, where he threw lavish excessive bashes at his extravagant mansion, in order to catch the eye of his lost love Daisy. Daisy who lived right across the bay in East Egg was played Carey Mulligan. I must say Mulligan embodied Daisy to the tee. Her flawless beauty and carelessness provokes faux innocence and yet she was still able to maintain control of her charter.
I cannot say I enjoyed every charter in this film. Nick Carraway who was played by Tobey Maguire, narrated the film from his asylum. I felt Nick was portrayed as to weak and naive for his new surroundings then he should have been. He became Gatsby’s lapdog and fell into the fabulously wealthy and corrupted lifestyle without any hesitation. Another issue I had throughout the film was we find Gatsby to change as he becomes closer to Daisy. He begins showing weakness and becomes pathetic in is attempt to win her love back. His inability to hold on to control of the situation and his fading façade, ultimately lead to Gatsby’s demise.
The visuals and soundtrack were charismatic and entrancing. Luhrmann was able to combine a modern feel with the old world style. The sets throughout the film where grand, the homes were lavish and in all had an impressively unreal feel. The West Egg of new money was shiny and glamorous, while across the bay in East Egg the old money was classic and traditional. In between Long Island and New York sat the Valley of Ashes where Lurhmann did a good job at depicting the dirty and grimy side of life. I enjoyed watching the party scenes that took place at the Gatsby mansion. The high energy, bold colors and lively music made you jealous that you were not at that party. Yes, there were a few awkward camera angels which if removed would make the film easier to watch. For example during the party scenes the camera moved from one scene to the next rapidly and at a different angle, making it tough to follow and concentrate on. But overall Luhrmann wanted to capture the dazzle and epic events that took place, which I feel he portrayed nicely.
The sound track for the film included Jay-Z along with a star studded list of musicians. The music incorporated modern hip-hop with the jazz age trumpet and piano. Many will disagree, but I feel the soundtrack matched the film perfectly. I think the addition of the new aged jazz and hip-hop music added a fresh feeling and keyed in on a modern roaring 20’s. Also it would have left the audience feeling confused if Luhrmann combined this fast paced and glamorous film with old time blues and ragtime music.
To say the least, the film is horribly underrated because many compare Luhrmann’s adaptation of The Great Gatsby to the 1949 and 1974 versions of the film. Others also crisis Luhrmann’s for straying away from the original plot in the book by F. Scott Fitzgerald. However I feel Luhrmann’s modern twist on the old tale created a film incomparable to the previous versions. Its grandness and over dramatic scene with the combination of outlandish parties, burst violence, and tragic romance made the film thoroughly enjoyable to watch.
-Jolene
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8
cbeers2513Nov 29, 2013
The Great Gatsby is perhaps the greatest American novel ever written. The novel deserves a perfect adaptation that captures its spirit as well as heartrending tragedy. Many have tried, most notably Robert Redford and his golden smile, but allThe Great Gatsby is perhaps the greatest American novel ever written. The novel deserves a perfect adaptation that captures its spirit as well as heartrending tragedy. Many have tried, most notably Robert Redford and his golden smile, but all have failed. Now, Baz Luhrmann, director of the critically divided Romeo and Juliet, attempts to tackle one of Hollywood's adaptations. The critics were once again thoroughly divided on his film, most claiming that Leonardo diCaprio made the movie as Gatsby shine but the film lacked the true heart of the book, replacing the important character development with over the top party scenes. The question is: We're the critics right? Or is this the Gatsby movie that Fitzgerald fans have been waiting for?
The story is told by Nick Carraway, played by Tobey Maguire, who is swept into the world of Gatsby's lavish Long Island parties. He learns that Gatsby, played by Leonardo Dicaprio, has one goal in his life: to reunite with his lost love Daisy Buchanan (Carey Mulligan), who has married to a wealthy billionaire named Tom (Joel Edgerton). The acting in this movie puts all prior iterations to shame. I will be wholeheartedly disappointed if DiCaprio does not take home Oscar gold for his performance as Jay Gatsby. This is the greatest performance of the year in one of the hardest roles to portray, featuring layers upon layers of emotional complexity, doubts, and forlorn love. Yet DiCaprio can do no wrong, flawlessly blending all of Gatsby's traits and mannerisms to create the quintessential Gatsby we all have dreamt for. Carey Mulligan also does extremely well, outshining all other Daisys by giving the lead a distinct personality and making viewers feel legitimately sorry for her, despite her inability to choose Gatsby over Tom. Even Edgerton is great, not acting as an inherently evil Tom, but a wealthy upper class man who can't cope with not getting everything he wants. The only fault in the acting department is Maguire. Although his performance isn't bad, his narrations feel extremely superficial, almost as if he was reading them for the first time instead of taking ownership of his own thoughts. However, DiCaprio's insightful performance, which brought me to tears on multiple occasions, is breathtaking and allows the viewer to truly immerse themselves in the story.
One major complaint of critics is the fact that the movie focuses more on visual imagery and eye candy than the actual story. For the first twenty minutes, I thought they were right. These opening scenes were extremely rushed, allowing for no character development and annoying me as I tried to piece together what each chopping edited scene was trying to tell me. But everything changed in the scene when Gatsby and Daisy first meet. This scene is so awkward, yet so beautiful. This is quite possibly one of my favorite movie scenes of the past few years, and after it, I disregarded the opening half hour and never looked back. Every interaction, every conversation, every kiss is flawlessly executed. The montage of their tour of Gatsby's mansion, which unfolds along with Lana del Ray's masterpiece "Young and Beautiful", is heartwarming and unforgettable, as you can see the perfect expression of newfound hope in both actors' eyes. From that point on, I enjoyed nearly every second of the movie, especially the tension-filled climax in the Plaza Hotel which also astounded me with its ability to play with my emotions. Even the creative licensing the movie takes is done well. Putting Nick in a mental institution after the events of the novel is an interesting and completely plausible interpretation of the story, which leads to an ending scene that I never would have expected. But it was done so well, now I can't see it being done any other way.
However, the movie isn't without faults. As said before, the first thirty minutes are a cluttered mess that almost sink the movie before it gets to its shining moments. Along with this, I do see where other critics are coming from when they say the parties are overdone. They undeniably are. Sometimes the movie focuses too much on the special effects and the guests rather than the extraordinary host, which occasionally disappoints. However, when the movie works, it really works.
The Great Gatsby is not a perfect adaptation of the Great American Novel, and I'm thoroughly convinced that such a thing cannot exist. However, this film is the best one out there and a great movie in general. It may focus on the parties too much and the opening really fails. However, old sport, everything else is just too good to overlook. DiCaprio gives a career-defining performance that, if the Academy has any sense, should net him Oscar gold. Every facet of the film, from the acting to the surprisingly effective soundtrack to the jaw-dropping special effects, works on many levels, and I'd be lying if I said that I was expecting the emotional impact I received. I, like Gatsby, believe in the green light. While this movie can never reach that level of perfection, just like Gatsby can never reach the green light across the sound, it should never die, just like Gatsby's extraordinary gift for hope. The Great Gatsby beats on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.
8/10

Follow me on twitter @cbeers2513
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1 of 1 users found this helpful10
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10
tlightJan 2, 2014
This film is full of brilliant actors, a story told in a very good way. The setting is beautiful. The screen play is amazing. I can watch this film time and time again.
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10
PinBBMay 11, 2013
Baz Luhrmann really has outdone himself in this film. The cast is beautiful as is the script. The scenes are a visual feast. It is as if Luhrmann reached into Fitzgerald's vision of the 20's, pulled out the heart of it and merged it with whatBaz Luhrmann really has outdone himself in this film. The cast is beautiful as is the script. The scenes are a visual feast. It is as if Luhrmann reached into Fitzgerald's vision of the 20's, pulled out the heart of it and merged it with what society is today, over nine decades later. Alongside personal strife, we see social inequality, abuse of drugs and alcohol, political and moral corruption, and the failure of financial institutions and their responsibility to people. This film will make you feel that these issues will always be relevant, and that not much changes from generation to generation.

The achingly romantic and hopeful Gatsby is played impeccably by DiCaprio. He has aged into a beautiful man while still possessing those boyish good looks. The beginning of the film has the viewer itching to see Gatsby and hear him speak, and when he finally appears he holds on and captivates throughout the film. The film may awaken something in you, a memory of when you were crazy in love with a person or in love with an idea for what your life should be. DiCaprio embodies a dream and makes you root for him, even though he is shown to be a liar and a man who is desperately trying to steal another's wife- all that does not matter because we see the gentle child-like frailty in him and identify with it. DiCaprio is an excellent actor and was perfect for the role.

I must say that I didn't think that Mulligan can pull the role of Daisy, who in my mind was supposed to be a flawless beauty. However, she didn't disappoint. It made Gatsby's love and desire for her even more fascinating- she was beautiful to him and that's all that mattered. Mulligan was able to play the spoiled and dazed rich girl well, while adding an emotional dimension to the character. Tobey Mcguire definitely held his own, and his story line had an interesting deviation from the novel which was enjoyable. All in all I think it is a must see this year for movie buffs.
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11 of 15 users found this helpful114
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9
AwesomeReviewerMay 11, 2013
Baz Luhrmann’s “The Great Gatsby,” is fairly accurate to the classic novel and keeps most of its themes intact. However, Luhrmann’s own flair adds a new dimension to the story. Visually this film is incredibly stunning. From grand sets to theBaz Luhrmann’s “The Great Gatsby,” is fairly accurate to the classic novel and keeps most of its themes intact. However, Luhrmann’s own flair adds a new dimension to the story. Visually this film is incredibly stunning. From grand sets to the detailed period dresses, this film is a treat for the eyes. Never once does it not take your breath away from its impressive scenery. Many people might be worried about the updated music, but there is nothing to fear. Jay-Z’s track works incredible well with the film and complements the era in which it is set.

The direction in this film is impeccable. The cinematography is marvelous and really lets the viewer absorb the sheer artistry that has gone into making this film. Luhrmann keeps a high level of energy throughout the film and the party sequences are choreographed and edited in a way that it makes you feel envious of not being apart of it. Editing in the film is seamless and really keeps the viewer engaged. A common criticism the film receives is that it is more style than substance, however, I must disagree. This modern interpretation doesn’t forget its themes and morals from the classic F. Scott Fitzgerald tale.

Performances are phenomenal by the entire cast. Carey Mulligan’s Daisy is every bit as careless as one would expect, but she also manages to show some complexity in her role. Tobey Maguire is a great avatar for us to take on as we enter this film. He is very much the viewer as he sees everything happening, but is ultimately helpless to change anything. The true standouts in the film are Joel Edgerton and Leonardo DiCaprio. Edgerton as Tom Buchanan brings a lot of personality to his character that I thought was absent in the book. He’s a bit more tender and more vulnerable, especially when he finds out his wife’s secret. The true award recognition worthy performance comes from DiCaprio’s Gatsby. He hones on being a respectable, but idealistically insane man. His performance is not only compelling, but also charming and quit hopeful. He truly deserves some recognition come Oscar season.

Overall, “The Great Gatsby” is a fantastically entertaining and enthralling film. It is horribly underrated as it is filled with awards worthy visuals, sets, costumes, direction, and performances. It is a great time at the movies for anyone that enjoys the classic novel or who haven’t even heard of it. Not only is this film dramatically satisfying, but also quite humorous and a spectacle like no other. I give it 4.5/5, a great adaptation of one of the greatest novels ever written.
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8 of 11 users found this helpful83
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7
A_NorthernerMay 29, 2013
So, could Baz Luhrmann, with Jay-Z at his side, deliver a modern adaptation of the the Great American Novel that would be well received by all? I think the answer from the offset was always going to be no. Instead, Luhrmann delivers a visualSo, could Baz Luhrmann, with Jay-Z at his side, deliver a modern adaptation of the the Great American Novel that would be well received by all? I think the answer from the offset was always going to be no. Instead, Luhrmann delivers a visual feast of a film, one that tries to balance Luhrman's big number style with an authenticity to the source material but one that relies too heavily on narration, some cheap visual effects and ends up failing to fully flesh out the key relationship central to the story.

I don't have any specific problem with Baz Luhrmann's style, I liked his take on Romeo & Juliet and have managed to avoid Moulin Rouge so far. I thought he would be a good match for the glitz, glamour and decadence of the period and I thought this side of the film worked out well. The style factor was never going to be in doubt. The use of music in the film has been the subject of some debate and I'm going to side with the positive. It worked fairly well for me, hip hop goes hand in hand with excess and the modern songs fitted well with the music video style of Gatsby's parties. Lana Del Rey's song Young & Beautiful is mesmerisingly haunting and is the perfect accompaniment for the film's troubled lovers. Having not read the book and therefore not being aware of the literary themes in place this may be an unfair comment, especially if fans of the book appreciated the inclusion, but I felt the direction was slightly heavy handed in places, I certainly felt the references to the all-seeing eyes and green light were more than driven home.

Leonardo DiCaprio gives a mature, refined performance befitting the great nature of the man. Carey Mulligan is also excellent as Daisy, giving what I call a 'bambi' type performance complete with beautifully innocent doe eyes. She is let down by the direction/narrative, wherever you want to lay the blame, which doesn't do enough to make you understand the passion of Gatsby for the girl, especially given the choices she ultimately makes. Tobey Maguire is suited to the role of Carraway, though his key role in the film as narrator, really limited my enjoyment. The guy always seems to come off so square, disapproving and lame.

I enjoyed The Great Gatsby but I'm sure it won't suit all tastes.
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9
MattyiceMay 10, 2013
This movie was absolutely great, mainly for its screenplay and it staying true to the Gatsby storyline. It was enjoyable all the way through, DiCaprio was amazing as Gatsby, and all of the roles were well played. The music though was stunningThis movie was absolutely great, mainly for its screenplay and it staying true to the Gatsby storyline. It was enjoyable all the way through, DiCaprio was amazing as Gatsby, and all of the roles were well played. The music though was stunning and fit the mood, even if it wasn't all Jazz (Black 1920s music). Instead, cleverly they used Hip-hop (Modern day black music). Overall, if you have read, or not read the book, you should absolutely see this. Expand
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9
ThegodfathersonMay 14, 2013
Baz Luhrmann's adaptation of "The Great Gatsby" isn't a disaster. Every frame is sincere. Its miscalculations come from a wish to avoid embalming a classic novel in "respectfulness" a worthy goal, in theory. It boasts the third mostBaz Luhrmann's adaptation of "The Great Gatsby" isn't a disaster. Every frame is sincere. Its miscalculations come from a wish to avoid embalming a classic novel in "respectfulness" a worthy goal, in theory. It boasts the third most imaginative use of 3D I've seen recently, after "U2 3D" and "Hugo." It's a technological and aesthetic lab that has four or five experiments cooking in each scene. Even when the movie's not working, its style fascinates. That "not working" part is a deal breaker, though and it has little to do with Luhrmann's stylistic gambits, and everything to do with his inability to reconcile them with an urge to play things straight.
If you've seen Lurhmann's "Strictly Ballroom," "Romeo Juliet" or "Moulin Rouge," or watched "Gatsby" trailers, you know what you're in for: an epic melodrama that fuses old-movie theatrics and subjective filmmaking, period music and modern pop, real sets and unreal landscapes, psychological drama and speeded-up slapstick.
We see the book's Prohibition-era settings (East Egg and West Egg, New York City, and the sooty wasteland in between) through the eyes of the narrator, Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire), who's writing a memoir-confession from an asylum. This framing device is inferred from statements Fitzgerald made in "The Crack-Up," and "Gatsby" often refers to itself as a book, so even though it's not part of the source, it's hardly a blasphemous indulgence; still, it's one more buffer between viewer and story in a movie that already has plenty.
This busywork might astonish if Lurhmann's heart were in it, but is it? The guests at Gatsby's party are too obviously directed, and there's no sense of escalation in the gatherings; from frame one, they're a Dionysian whirl of booze, lust and hero worship, minus the sense that that things are ebbing and flowing as they would at a real party. The CGI-assisted camera acrobatics feel obligatory. So do the anachronistic soundtrack mash-ups (modern hip-hop layered over ragtime piano, and so on).
But in the film's dark second half, "The Great Gatsby" half-forgets its mandate to wow us and zeroes in on actors saying lines to one another in rooms. Once that happens, the Luhrmannerisms distract from the film's true heart: the actions and feelings of its characters. Luhrmann didn't set out to make a PBS-style, bare-bones adaptation, but there are times when it feels as though he wants to.
Once you get past the movie's opening eruptions of visual excess hundreds of party guests boozing and hollering and doing the Charleston; CGI cityscapes that visualize 1920s New York by way of Warren Beatty's candy-colored "Dick Tracy"; a long expository talk between Gatsby and Nick in a careening computer-buffed roadster that moves as believably as the talking cab in "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" "The Great Gatsby" settles into a traditional groove: scene, scene, montage, scene, burst of violence, moment of reflection. The movie wants to be a "kaleidoscopic carnival," to quote a phrase from the book's description of a Jay Gatsby party, but Luhrmann's instincts seem more traditional, even square, and the two impulses cancel each out. Once you've spent time with his cast, you understand why he was torn.
DiCaprio's Gatsby is the movie's greatest and simplest special effect: an illusion conjured mainly through body language and voice. On the page, the character is so mysterious, so much a projection of the book's narrator, that you'd think he'd be as unplayable onscreen as Kurtz or John Galt; he eluded Alan Ladd and Robert Redford, the role's previous inhabitants. And yet DiCaprio makes him comprehensible and achingly real. The actor's choices drive home the idea that Gatsby is playing the man he wishes he were, and that others need him to be. We see the calculations behind his eyes, but we also believe that he could hide them from the other characters most of them, anyway.
DiCaprio's acting evokes Nick's description of the human personality as "an unbroken series of successful gestures." Luhrmann cuts some scenes to make it seem as if the character really is omniscient as if he can see and hear for miles and read people's thoughts and feelings and DiCaprio plays these moments with a mix of inscrutability and delight, as if Gatsby knows something we don't, but is too clever to say precisely what. (He could play Superman.) When Gatsby's deceptions are revealed is an iconic performance maybe his career best.
The rest of the cast is nearly as impressive. Nick Carraway is almost as much of an abstraction as Gatsby an audience surrogate, with touches of The Nice Guy Betrayed but Maguire humanizes him, just as DiCaprio does Gatsby.
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8
grandpajoe6191Aug 25, 2015
Despite lacking depth in some parts, "The Great Gatsby" is a excellent piece of artwork that not only stays true and faithful to its original source, but also mixes the creative genius thawed out from the illustrious mind of Baz Luhrmann.
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8
SwatiSep 22, 2013
All I can say is that you should never listen to the critics. They are so full of themselves. The best they can do is take someone's hard work and turn it on its head. Leo nails the plight and desperation of Gatsby with such intensity thatAll I can say is that you should never listen to the critics. They are so full of themselves. The best they can do is take someone's hard work and turn it on its head. Leo nails the plight and desperation of Gatsby with such intensity that you can't help but feel for him. I wished to be there for him and to tell him that everything would be all right. I've not read the book and frankly the plot seems very generic. A man from humble beginnings rises through society for the sake of winning the girl he lost several years ago. Yet the book is hailed as 'The Great American Novel.' I don't know why that is, but the movie only shines because of Leo. That man knows the most intimate secrets of playing a character and bringing it to life. Of course one may argue that there was no electronic music and rap in the 1920s, and yet Moulin Rouge! didn't seem to have historical accuracy going against it when it received critical acclaim, as I don't think Nirvana existed in the nineteenth century. Carey Mulligan also deserves a mention. Expand
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8
samichsupernovaMay 10, 2013
As a huge fan of DiCaprio, Mulligan, Fitzgerald and Lurhmann, I went in with pretty high expectations. Sure enough, the acting, direction and script are top-notch, if a little too faithful to the source material in letter, while being wildlyAs a huge fan of DiCaprio, Mulligan, Fitzgerald and Lurhmann, I went in with pretty high expectations. Sure enough, the acting, direction and script are top-notch, if a little too faithful to the source material in letter, while being wildly all over the place in tone, leading to a bloated, overlong production.

That said, I'd rather take something ambitious over the safe treatment any day: within these 2 1/2 hours, there are moments of incredible power, and the excesses of the time period are well demonstrated through the wicked party scenes. 

Gatsby's parties are the highlight recalling modern mega-raves or top-notch Vegas clubs with the energy amped to 11, their bombast and spectacle threaten to overwhelm the rest of the film. If only Luhrmann could find a way to ensure that his film's visual dynamism didn't go head-to-head with anything that might be considered subtle... the director's over-abundant style robs the film of is realism: it takes place in a world that's decorated, lit, and shot as if it were an ethereal realm somehow divorced from the everyday, and like its titular character, the film does go above and beyond what's needed to impress. 

Therein lies the film's biggest problem: the weight of Gatsby's ambitions and the non-stop eye-popping visuals coupled with lightning fast editing takes a toll on the flow of the story. For most of the film, Luhrmann doesn't let his scenes attain an organic flow of their own. His camera swivels through the air as if more interested in the set decoration than his own stars, and the edits rarely slow down even during the most intimate sequences.

Still, the performances are great all across the board. DiCaprio is far and away the standout, Maguire's Carroway is thankfully subtle (although his voice overs get to be a bit much), Carey Mulligan (my waifu) brings a real heart and soul to an underwritten and unlikeable Daisy (an unfortunate result of the film following its source material too slavishly), and Joel Edgerton makes a great Tom Buchanan. Perhaps it's telling of the strength of the source material and cast that the human element shines through despite Luhrmann's excesses.
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9
MichaelDNMay 10, 2013
I'm going to make this very simple for you. If you like the book, you'll like the movie. Why? It encompasses everything that makes the novel great. The script basically is the book, from the narration, to the dialogue, the the plot line. TheI'm going to make this very simple for you. If you like the book, you'll like the movie. Why? It encompasses everything that makes the novel great. The script basically is the book, from the narration, to the dialogue, the the plot line. The magic of the book is brought to life by Baz Lurhmann's direction, and by the performances. We really get to see this fantastic world the same way we imagined Nick saw it, when we were reading the book. People complain about the style, and how it's too shallow, and goes out of its way to look good, but that's the point. Gatsby's fantastic life was completely shallow, but Nick didn't see that initially. I'm interested in hearing the opinion of someone who liked the book, but didn't like the movie, because I'd like to know what they were expecting. They must've read a different book than I did. Expand
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9
Movie1997May 10, 2013
I remember watching the trailer for this movie a year ago and expecting it to come out at Christmas. I just don't understand why the movie was delayed 6 months. But now that the movie is here I can personally say it was worth the wait. TheI remember watching the trailer for this movie a year ago and expecting it to come out at Christmas. I just don't understand why the movie was delayed 6 months. But now that the movie is here I can personally say it was worth the wait. The Great Gatsby is a very beautiful story and well told through miraculous cinematography, some visuals and fantastic acting. Hands down, Leonardo DiCaprio is the heart and soul of the movie. I mean, he's just such a tremendous actor. It may not be his biggest and best role, but he still gives one hell of a performance (just as usual). There were some even some other great actors such as Joel Edgerton, Carey Mulligan and even Tobey Maguire. I honestly wasn't sure if I would like him in this movie but he actual is really good. But his best role for me will always be in "Brothers". The cinematography is definitely one of the things that impressed me the most. Cinematographer Simon Duggan really knows how to not only get great shots, but take you through the world of Jay Gatsby himself. The one thing I really don't understand is this. Why is there a 3-D release for this movie? I mean, it has those good shots, but honestly it doesn't need to be shot in 3-D. That's like making "The Notebook" in 3-D. It just doesn't work. But don't let that distract you from watching an (Oscar worthy) type-movie. If your going to go watch it, watch it in 2-D. But overall, it's a beautifully crafted story of drama and romance. Expand
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