Parents' Guide to

The Great Gatsby

By S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Fitzgerald classic gets a decadent, gorgeous, tricky update.

Movie PG-13 2013 142 minutes
The Great Gatsby Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 14+

Based on 17 parent reviews

age 13+

I would read the book by my friend Mr. Carraway, old sport.

Nothing to say here, I am dead.
age 15+

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (17):
Kids say (67):

Baz Luhrmann is a polarizing director. His cinematic canvasses have sometimes been dismissed for being overstuffed, his take on the classics -- a mix of tradition and overwhelming modernism -- muddled. The same criticisms can be brought to bear on The Great Gatsby. Some scenes explode with so much visual stimulation that watching them feels rapacious and gluttonous -- a perfect strategy for evoking the excesses of the Jazz Age, yes, but also distracting and hard to enjoy. Luhrmann can move too quickly from one overfull scene to the next, too, not giving the audience time to take it all in. And the music -- what happened to the music? The soundtrack is wonderful, but we only hear slivers of most of it, and often not enough for the songs to enhance the movie's vision. Luhrmann used music much more masterfully in Romeo + Juliet, which some may say is a more accomplished adaptation (there, he fully modernized a classic, setting it in present times -- unlike Gatsby, which he keeps in the 1920s).

And yet, Gatsby is still genius, even if so much of what horrified in Fitzgerald's book -- the rottenness of the lot of them -- doesn't have as much resonance in these Facebook-heavy, reality-TV-driven times. For all its flaws, The Great Gatsby is a mind-bending experience. Commit to it fully as its own entity, a re-invention as much as Jay Gatsby himself is, and you'll be transported and affected by the heartbreak of it all, the folly of a man filled with hope but borne back, as Fitzgerald put it, ceaselessly into the past. Aside from the miscasting of Edgerton and Jason Clarke (who plays George), who both overact, the rest of the ensemble is perfect. DiCaprio is as good as he has ever been, distilling Gatsby's striving, hopeful, and ultimately destructive nature into a heartbreaking cocktail. Mulligan may not have as much depth, but she nonetheless makes for a frustratingly appealing Daisy. And Maguire? He makes no false move here, not a single one, proving the perfect witness to the profligate, imprudent ways of Nick's people.

Movie Details

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