The Great Gatsby

  • Review Date: May 8, 2013
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2013
  • Running Time: 142 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Fitzgerald classic gets a decadent, gorgeous, tricky update.
  • Review Date: May 8, 2013
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2013
  • Running Time: 142 minutes

Age(i)

2
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17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The film's underlying message is pretty bleak: People, especially privileged people with no perspective, can be rotten. But, in a way, it also celebrates those who continue to hold hope, even in the face of cynicism. There's a conspicuous flaunting of wealth and some discussion about "old" and "new" money.

Positive role models

Most everyone behaves in questionable ways in the movie (and the book), but narrator Nick Carraway manages to become the moral center. In the end, he's the one who identifies the callousness that pervades the likes of Tom, Daisy, and their friends.

Violence

A man is held by two others while someone else hits him, in a very brief scene. Another character runs over a woman with a car; her body is shown many times hitting the windshield and thudding to the ground. A man is also shown shooting someone from a distance and then putting the same gun in his mouth. A man strikes a woman hard.

Sex

A couple is heard moaning from behind closed doors. Married men grope at women who aren't their wives, and infidelity is a big part of the overall plot. Some innuendo. A couple exchanges some passionate kisses and is later shown partially nude (no sensitive body parts shown) in bed, under the covers.

Language

Language includes relatively infrequent use of "hell," "damn," "goddamn," "oh my God," "son of a bitch," and some derogatory/racist terms and comments. Songs used on the soundtrack include some stronger words, including "f--k" (infrequent), "s--t," and "d--k."

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Tons of drinking. One character is described as "morbidly alcoholic," and characters are shown drinking and driving. Also some smoking (accurate for the movie's time period), and one scene shows a woman popping "mood pills." Though the film frequently portrays partying and drunken debauchery as wildly fun, it also includes the darker aftermath -- the literal and figurative messes that need cleaning up.

 

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that director Baz Luhrmann's (Moulin Rouge) take on The Great Gatsby is a decadent, dizzying version of F. Scott Fitzgerald's classic American novel. The movie is true to the book, featuring scenes with lots of drinking -- often to excess -- and smoking. There's not too much swearing (though some soundtrack song lyrics include infrequent use of "s--t" and "f--k"), but expect some violence (a man punches another, a car hits a woman head-on, and a character shoots another) and sexuality. Couples -- including people married to others  -- are shown kissing and in bed (bare shoulders). Leonardo DiCaprioTobey Maguire, and Carey Mulligan star; that, plus the movie's hip soundtrack and lush style, are likely to make it very appealing to teens.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

Set in New York in the lavish Roaring Twenties, this adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's classic THE GREAT GATSBY stars Leonardo DiCaprio as Jay Gatsby, a wealthy, mysterious, self-made man who moves into a Long Island mansion and makes a name for himself by throwing lavish, bacchanalian parties -- all for the singular purpose of winning back the love of his life, Daisy Buchanan (Carey Mulligan). Daisy's husband, Tom (Joel Edgerton), is oblivious (at first) to it all because he's so preoccupied with his own dalliances. Witness to it all is Gatsby's neighbor, Daisy's cousin, Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire), who plays a part in bringing them together and witnesses a series of events that ultimately reveals the characters' tragic flaws.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

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.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about Gatsby and his commitment to Daisy. Why was it so important for him to be rich? What motivated his behavior?

  • The movie is a modernized period adaptation of a classic. Does it work? How is it different from more faithful adaptations? Does the modern soundtrack make it more accessible?

  • Hollywood loves to mine books for material. What's lost and gained in the cinematic translation?

  • How does the movie portray drinking? Is it glamorized? Are there realistic consequences?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:May 10, 2013
DVD release date:August 27, 2013
Cast:Carey Mulligan, Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire
Director:Baz Luhrmann
Studio:Warner Bros.
Genre:Drama
Topics:Book characters
Run time:142 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:some violent images, sexual content, smoking, partying and brief language

This review of The Great Gatsby was written by

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Written byAnonymous July 20, 2014
AGE
16
QUALITY
 

Emotional drama is for mature teens only.

My rating:R for violent images and sexuality
Teen, 16 years old Written bySean Broucek May 14, 2013
AGE
14
QUALITY
 

AWESOME

This gorgeous, brilliant hollywood update is sure to wow audiences with it's acting, lush style, and killer soundtrack, but may be too mature for 14-. There is excessive drinking, partial nudity, violent content, smoking, overwhelming parties, sexual material, and language. There is sexual intercourse, flirting, seduction, kissing, sme female buttocks shown during a sex scene, and a female breast flashed. Adults drink to excess, and there is two murders, one with a car, another with a pistol. Language includes one use of the N word. I would rate this PG-13 For Brief Violent Images, Sexuality And Some Nudity, Drinking, Language & Partying
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Parent Written byShivom Oza May 16, 2013
AGE
15
QUALITY
 

The Great Gatsby (2013) Review by Shivom Oza – ‘Great’ In The Film’s Title Is Justified!

An adaption of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 1925 novel of the same name, Baz Luhrmann’s ‘The Great Gatsby’ revolves around the equation between a mysterious millionaire Jay Gatsby and his neighbour Nick Carraway. Although the 3D was quite needless, everything else about the film (visuals, music, performances, subject, dialogues, and screenplay among other notable aspects) is absolutely terrific. The most awesome part about ‘The Great Gatsby’ is that it encapsulates so many elements – love, betrayal, friendship, greed, selflessness, trust, conceit and ambition. The length may seem a bit long at 2hours 23minutes, but the emphatic climax is worth the wait. The film starts with a dishevelled-looking Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire), assumed to be an alcoholic, narrating Gatsby’s (Leonardo DiCaprio) story to his psychiatrist. According to Nick, Gatsby was the most hopeful man that he had ever met. He reminisces about the summer of 1922, when he had recently moved to New York City, and started working as a bond salesman. Nick says that he got himself a small house on Long Island, right next to the grand mansion owned by a certain Mister Gatsby. Having been a witness to his grand and wild parties at his palatial residence, Nick finds himself enamoured by this faceless, mysterious person called Gatsby. After finally coming face-to-face with him (with a little help from the petite common friend Jordan Baker (Elizabeth Debicki)), Nick can’t help but get carried away by Gatsby’s infectious smile and energy. Inevitably, both of them become good friends in no time. Nick, often, wonders about how Gatsby collected such enormous amount of wealth, but as time passes, his trust in the man grows stronger. One day, Nick learns that his cousin Daisy Buchanan (Carey Mulligan) had been Gatsby’s lover and that the latter wants her back. This leads to a roller-coaster ride for everyone involved – including Daisy’s temperamental husband Tom Buchanan (Joel Edgerton). How Nick manages to sort this situation, and eventually lands up at a shrink’s is what the film is all about! The biggest positive about the film was the way it tackled rights, wrongs and relationships. Through the course of the film, you will find several real-life connections with its principal characters. Daisy, Tom, Gatsby and Tom’s mistress Myrtle Wilson (Isla Fisher) play complex characters. They’ve all made errors in judgement and eventually, do face the repercussions. However, you can understand everyone’s predicament at the end of it all. Relationships are about give-and-take, but the truth is that ‘give’ and ‘take’ never attain a stable equilibrium. ‘The Great Gatsby’ is about how much are you willing to give and how much can you let go, in a relationship (be it in friendship or love). The film also talks about ‘hope’. There’s a famous quote from the 1997 film ‘Good Will Hunting’ – “I'm just going to put my money on the table and see what kind of cards I get.” Yes, sometimes one just needs to give a relationship his/her all, and just wait for how it all ends up! The film’s climax will leave you a bit overwhelmed. Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire deliver astounding performances. The film is primarily about the equation between these two principal characters, and the actors do a marvellous job. Amitabh Bachchan, who plays Gatsby’s business partner Meyer Wolfsheim, has superb screen presence. The Bollywood megastar shines in this two-minute role. Another aspect that shines out in the movie – the visuals (the 3D, albeit unrequired, is really, really good); comprising wonderful production design, cinematography and special effects. Craig Armstrong’s enchanting musical score wonderfully tailors into the screenplay. The only downside to the film is the length. At two-and-half-hours, ‘The Great Gatsby’ may leave you exhausted. However, it’s a stupendous effort and a must-watch. The ‘great’ in the film’s title is justified. Shivom Oza
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Kid, 10 years old May 10, 2013
AGE
14
QUALITY
 

Cool

What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing

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