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The Great Gatsby Review Critics


Dave White Profile

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Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 3.0

    out of 100

    Mixed or average reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 30

    out of 100

    Wall Street Journal Joe Morgenstern

    What's intractably wrong with the film is that there's no reality to heighten; it's a spectacle in search of a soul.

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  • 40

    out of 100

    The New Yorker David Denby

    Luhrmann's vulgarity is designed to win over the young audience, and it suggests that he's less a filmmaker than a music-video director with endless resources and a stunning absence of taste. [13 May 2013, p.78]

  • 50

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    So much effort seems to have gone into the eye-popping production design, swooping camera work and anachronistic musical score that the result is hyper-active cacophony rather than enthralling entertainment.

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  • 60

    out of 100

    Variety Scott Foundas

    More often, Gatsby feels like a well-rehearsed classic in which the actors say their lines ably, but with no discernible feeling behind them.

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  • 67

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly

    It's a dazzling time capsule of a shimmering era and a devastating look into the dark side of the American dream. Too bad Luhrmann, the caffeinated conductor, doesn't trust that story enough. He'd rather blast your retinas into sugar-shock submission. Uncle, old sport! Uncle!

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  • 70

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter Todd McCarthy

    No matter how frenzied and elaborate and sometimes distracting his technique may be, Luhrmann's personal connection and commitment to the material remains palpable, which makes for a film that, most of the time, feels vibrantly alive while remaining quite faithful to the spirit, if not the letter or the tone, of its source.

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  • 88

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Richard Roeper

    Amidst all the fireworks and the cascading champagne and the insanely over-the-top parties, we’re reminded again and again that The Great Gatsby is about a man who spends half a decade constructing an elaborate monument to the woman of his dreams.

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For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 14+

Fitzgerald classic gets a decadent, gorgeous, tricky update.

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?

The good stuff
  • message true1

    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.

  • rolemodels true1

    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.

What to watch for
  • violence false3

    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 false3

    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 false3

    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 false0

    Consumerism: Not an issue

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false3

    Drinking, drugs and 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.