The Great Gatsby (2013) Review

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The Great Gatsby (2013)

Directed by Baz Luhrmann

Leonardo DiCaprio
Tobey Maguire
Carey Mulligan
Joel Edgerton
Isla Fisher
Jason Clarke
Amitabh Bachchan

Running time: 142 minutes

Plot Synopsis:
Rich people are bastards. Don’t get drawn into their world – Stay a nice Midwesterner!

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My Opinion:

Okay – I’m trying to catch up on reviewing the 2013 films that I’ve seen. Out of 41, I only have three left to do (The Great Gatsby, Sound City & Gravity, which I’ve just seen). So here we go!

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I never got around to reviewing Gatsby because I wasn’t sure what to say about it. I went to see it with a friend and she’s the one who chose it – it’s not really my type of thing. I didn’t mind Romeo + Juliet (but that may be due to my slightly weird crush on John Leguizamo). I really didn’t like Moulin Rouge (but that may be due to my slightly weird dislike of Nicole Kidman).

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Here’s my Great Gatsby knowledge prior to seeing the 2013 film: NOTHING! Never read the book, never saw the Robert Redford film. I think that helped, though, as the only thing I really enjoyed about the film was the story and it was nice not knowing beforehand how it would end. Other than the overall main story going on, I didn’t find the rest of it to be a very good film.

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Annoying. I know that’s important in these Baz Luhrmann films like Moulin Rouge but I found it all very distracting in Gatsby. Instead of going “Oh that’s cool & clever how they’ve stuck this modern music in this old timey film” it just felt totally out of place in this one. Okay, and I just didn’t like any of the songs (other than No Church In The Wild) so that didn’t help. I just wanted to find out what was going to happen in the story instead of suddenly having to hear Yuck. (I’m aware I sound like a grumpy old person).

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Out of place & jarring music aside, I really did like the story as I said and I liked Leo (usually do – he’s a great actor) and even Tobey Maguire was less annoying than usual. But one thing I was really looking forward to beforehand was seeing Carey Mulligan. I’ve liked her ever since that great Doctor Who episode Blink (which was pretty much all her & barely featured Doctor Who and still managed to be one of the best episodes in recent years). So, unfortunately, I feel really bad having to say that I didn’t like her in Gatsby. I can’t say that she was “wrong for the part” as I don’t know anything about the character. Maybe it’s a poorly written character in this script? No idea. Maybe it’s not her fault but I found it really hard to believe that someone would be so completely in love with a girl who’s soooo damn BORING. She’s adorable & I’ve always thought blonde hair & brown eyes are lovely together and she’s been great in other things so… I don’t know. Just really wasn’t feeling the Daisy Buchanan character! Leo’s Gatsby & Maguire’s Nick were the two best characters by far and the only ones that I cared about – I could take or leave the rest of them. The rest were hateful (but I suppose they were meant to be). Well, Daisy’s friend (Jordan? The golfer…) was a decent character. But… Daisy’s husband – prick! Isla Fisher’s Myrtle – moron! Daisy – vapid! Everyone else – boring, apparently, as I can’t remember anyone else.

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The Great Gatsby wasn’t as bad as I’m making it sound. The story was intriguing (but I don’t think the movie can exactly take credit for this). Leo was good & he was believable as was Tobey Maguire’s relationship with him. It’s just unfortunate that their friendship was far more believable & interesting than the “romance” with Dull Daisy! The film was lovely to look at and the story was good enough to make me mostly forgive the music that felt totally out of place but luckily didn’t take over the entire film (the music was way less prominent than I’d been expecting it to be before seeing the film). Overall, I liked it okay but it’s thanks only to a) The story b) Leo’s Gatsby c) The relationship between Gatsby & Maguire’s Nick. Maybe I should read the book?

My Rating: 6.5/10

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35 thoughts on “The Great Gatsby (2013) Review

  1. Good review. I’m with you on the music. It wasn’t good – at all. Also with you on Leo.

    I think Mulligan is less to blame than the script, by the way. Her character was badly developed an the dialogue she was forced to speak was often unnatural at best.

  2. Solid write-up. I’m roughly with you for the most part, fair rating. The acting was above average, which was to be expected with a cast like this. The visuals really are something to behold. It was a slightly better than okay picture. Oh, and of course, the book is better :).

  3. I’ll never see this movie – LOL

    Good work though!!

    Hey – btw – I sent you an email yesterday – either it went to spam or you are viciously ignoring your biggest fan and BFF. : ) if you could just let me know if you got it – and then reply whenever you feel like it… : )

  4. though I guess there are exceptions, another better book than movie. That being said, I don’t find the book as life-changing as some do. Spot on about Tobey & Leo, one was less annoying than usual and the other his usual reliable self! I did find myself saying ‘Old Sport’ a fair bit after the film.

    • True – the book is better 90% of the time (a couple exceptions for me: Stand By Me, One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest). Ha – that’s true – forgot about the “old sport” thing! πŸ™‚

  5. When the movie is all crazy and vibrant, its the best time you’re going to have with something of Luhrmann’s creation. However, when the story settles down and tries to get all dramatic, it just does not fit well. Good review.

    • Thanks. πŸ™‚ I did “like” the serious bits but agree they didn’t fit. I think this was just the wrong story for this particular director to take on. I’d probably like a more straightforward version. I do now have the Redford one on DVD – I may give it a try.

  6. I read the book just before seeing the film and I liked them about same amount. But for different reasons. I agree with the most of the critics that the movie is hollow but very pretty. I didn’t find the music that annoying, it wasn’t as good as in Moulin Rouge but then again, I like Luhrmann and his way of using music. But Gatsby the film was quite blah to me except visually. The book on the other hand is very much more blaaah, it’s so boring. It’s the tiniest book but it took forever to read it. It got better towards the end and the ending saved a lot to me. They changed the ending in the movie which is a pity because I thought it was the best part of the book. And the friendship between those two men, is more important in the book too. And Daisy is not that bad, she has character.

  7. I really enjoyed this but then I am a massive Luhrman fan-girl and Great Gatsby is as Lurhmany as it gets. I had to read the book at school… so I immediately disliked it on principle and haven’t revisited it but if I remember correctly Daisy is a bit of a useless, vapid twat in the book as well. I think that’s kind of the point, that Gatsby is in love with the idea of being in love. Like he is in love with the idea of being rich.

    • I know you love Moulin Rouge so felt kind of bad at having to say I didn’t like that one & wasn’t overly impressed with Gatsby. πŸ˜‰ I like what you’ve said, though – that he’s in love with the idea of being in love! I think you’ve made me like it a bit more. He didn’t truly love that “useless, vapid twat”. Lol! πŸ™‚

  8. You should totally read F Scott Fitzgerald’s masterpiece. One of my favorites of all time. And Baz Luhrmann, I now despise since he botched an opportunity to retell a classic in 2013 (it’s been done many times before, this is true, but it could have been the best version yet with a cast like this). The music selection was horrendous, the acting was a bit wooden (not the fault of the actors, the script ain’t great) and while it does look good, it’s a great example of style-over-substance for me. I have it marked on my top three biggest disappointments of the year. 😦

    (But good review, though!) πŸ™‚

    • Thanks! πŸ™‚ Yeah – I know I should really try to read the book someday. I can imagine those who love the book REALLY hating this film! Definitely style over substance (but that’s a Luhrmann film for you I suppose).

  9. Great Review Yeah I will agree with you about the music not working with this movie. The only time I can accept modern songs in older settings are ones by Quentin Tarantino(Django Unchained) or Sofia Coppola(Marie Antoinette). The supporting role I liked was Elizabeth Debecki as Jordan

    • Thanks. πŸ™‚ Agree that was the only supporting role I liked. And funny you mention Marie Antoinette – I’ve never seen that one and am in the mood for a movie tonight & that’s one of the ones I’m contemplating watching… Is it worth it?

  10. I haven’t seen this yet but I will, its queuing on my tablet on some sweet free deal that I had. I did read the book hoping to catch it in theatre since I like Baz Luhrman. The book is a short read but I think its the writing style that bothers me mostly. I felt for such a short novel that it took a while to set it up and it felt slow. It definitely has a good story though. πŸ™‚

    • Hope you like it when you watch it. If you like Luhrmann, I’m sure you’ll like the movie. Look forward to a review from you! πŸ™‚ You know, since I posted this review, The Great Gatsby has become the all time highest search term on my blog. Strange! So a review of it will probably really up your views if you care about that sort of thing. πŸ˜‰ But I bet you have loads of views anyway!

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  12. I wasn’t keen on this either. Shame, because I like Lurhman’s other films. Leo was the only good thing as far as I can remember. I totally agree about the characters being awful and Daisy? Urgh! Why on Earth would such a drip of a girl inspire such emotion? You hit the nail right on the head with your choice of the word ‘vapid’.

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