Rapid Review: The Great Gatsby (2013)

GREAT GATSBY 2013 MOVIE POSTER

“Can’t repeat the past? Why, of course you can.”
– Jay Gatsby

SYNOPSIS: A Midwestern war veteran finds himself drawn to the past and lifestyle of his millionaire neighbor. – via IMDB

This is an old review that I have updated since watching the movie again.

the great gatsby jay and daisy

GRADE 7.5I know that a lot of people had a lot of different things to say about this film, but I must say that it exceeded my expectations. I went in there not expecting anything, but with tons of hope. The dialogue was pretty much taken out of the book just like that, and Tobey Maguire truly impressed me as Nick Carraway and the narrator. I am not a big Tobey Maguire fan (yep, let me just come right out and put it on the table), but this was the first time that I was actually really impressed with what he did. He brought that naivete to the screen so well. Joel Edgerton was spot on for Tom. There were a few things that were changed toward the end, but that do not detract from the story overall. I loved how the adaptation stayed very true to the book, and I was very pleased to have read it beforehand. I must say it makes the world of difference. Now to address the style that everyone has either been raving about or knocking, let me say this: it truly (in my opinion) captured the essence of the parties, the abundance and the decadence, as well as the total emptiness of it all. It was so beautiful to watch! Leonardo DiCaprio was perfectly cast as Jay Gatsby, and was again just spectacular to watch. I liked him and Daisy together, the way it was captured on film was beautiful, though I do wish that Mulligan had been used a bit more. The Great Gatsby is a tale of hope and betrayal, and watching Jay build up his hopes about Daisy was crushing, especially knowing how the whole thing was going to turn out. Gatsby was a character I both admired and pitied – he worked his way up from nothing, had a certain naivete about him, and yet knew nothing of people just doing nice things for him, favours that did not have to be paid for in turn. There was also enough humour in it, but not enough to overshadow the actual story that was being told. The shirt scene was absolutely wonderfully done, that is just one scene I would like to highlight. The soundtrack threw me when I heard it start up, it really just did not strike me as correct for the film. That is probably my biggest criticism – I really hated it. Immensely. The outfits and costumes were just stunning, and I thoroughly enjoyed it in 3D, and again now on Blu-Ray (I am totally moving up in the world). Baz Luhrmann really did a good job, I enjoyed the movie, I am a fan. As I said, there were things that changed a bit from the book to screen, but not enough to derail the entire production. I would recommend this movie, really, despite what all the reviews say – both positive and negative. This is the type of film you need to see for yourself, something that people will either love or hate, but I suggest going in there and deciding for yourself!

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30 thoughts on “Rapid Review: The Great Gatsby (2013)

    • Zoë says:

      Thanks Austin! I must say, this (for me) was totally worth seeing in the theatre. It was so beautiful to look at! It is a pity you hated the book! I loved not the style of writing the most about the book. Let us know if you decide to hop off the fence and take a definitive stand 😉

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      • Austin @ The Bishop Review says:

        I’m a huge Fitzgerald fan, This Side of Paradise and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button are two of my favorite stories. I don’t know why I hated Gatsby so much. If I’m bored today or tomorrow, I might go see it.

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      • Zoë says:

        Hmmmm… I wonder what it was that rubbed you up wrong then. I would love to read a review with your opinion on it, so here’s hoping you get bored!

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  1. keith7198 says:

    Nice review! Glad you enjoyed it! I liked it a good deal as well. Very strong performances and I loved its faithfulness to the book.

    Great point about Maguire. I’m not a big fan of his but he was really good here! Just a good overall movie, not perfect, but very entertaining.

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    • Zoë says:

      Thanks Keith! It was so worth seeing on the big screen, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Definitely not perfect, but I don’t think it deserves the extreme knocks it is getting!

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  2. ruth says:

    Fabulous review girl! I think I’d agree w/ you about the rating. I too went in w/ tepid (well maybe neutral) expectations and it turned out a bit better than I thought, even if it’s not as emotionally gratifying.

    I like how Baz made DiCaprio’s Gatsby such an enigmatic person, just the way the built up until Nick met him is fun to watch.

    I agree w/ a lot of your points. Yes visually it impressed me, the production values are just superb & yes, I thoroughly enjoyed it in 3D. I’m not a huge Tobey fan either but I thought he was perfect as Nick and the friendship (if you want to call it that) between him and Gatsby is more heart-wrenching than the romance to me.

    Having seen the 1974 version (well barely, as I couldn’t finish it), I think this version captured the ‘essence’ of the story, all that glamor that amounts to nothingness.

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    • Zoë says:

      Thanks a lot Ruth!

      I was very impressed, and so glad that I went. I had more surprises than let downs, and that is saying something seeing as the reviews really were all over the board with this one.

      I heard that the 1974 one is just too dated. I wonder if I should try it out anyway? Ah, you hit the nail on the head right there!

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    • Zoë says:

      Thank you, Dan! Visually stunning, yes, but the emotions were not as hollow as I thought they would be. They were not so captivating as one would expect, but they were there (just possibly not as solidly as they should have been).

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  3. Tom says:

    Great reminder, this review! I really need to see this again to fully make my mind up. i think i gave it an ovelry harsh final rating or something because of the exact same issue: the soundtrack just grated me so incredibly bad. It didn’t feel right. Overall as far as the atmosphere and attitude i think it is probably better than I remember. Graet review Zoe

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