What 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 DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, and Carey Mulligan star; that, plus the movie's hip soundtrack and lush style, are likely to make it very appealing to teens.
- 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?