The Great Gatsby (2013 Film)

The Great Gatsby (2013 Film) Study Guide

Baz Luhrmann's 2013 film The Great Gatsby is based on F. Scott Fitzgerald's 1925 novel of the same name. The novel is a classic, taught almost universally in high school English classes and touted as one of the most important works of American literature of the 20th century. Inspired by actual lavish parties that Fitzgerald went to in Long Island, the book was not a success upon its initial publication, but went on to become a classic during WWII. There have been many adaptations of the book, on stage and in film, and Luhrmann's film is the most recent high-profile version of the story.

The film stars Leonardo DiCaprio as the rich and mysterious Jay Gatsby, Tobey Maguire as voyeuristic protagonist Nick Carraway, and Carey Mulligan as the impressionable and beautiful Daisy Buchanan. The film stays mostly faithful to the novel, with a few deviations. It tells the story of the reluctant writer, Nick, as he arrives in New York and chases the American dream. Carraway moves in next door to the mansion of Gatsby, who throws elaborate parties every weekend, in hopes of luring the woman he once loved back into his life. The woman, Nick's cousin Daisy, lives across the bay with her husband Tom Buchanan. Quickly, Nick gets drawn into the luxurious and deceitful world of the rich.

Upon release, the film was met with mixed to negative reviews, with the general consensus from review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reading: "While certainly ambitious—and every bit as visually dazzling as one might expect—Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby emphasizes visual splendor at the expense of its source material's vibrant heart." However, not all reviews were negative, with critic A.O. Scott saying that the film was "A lot of fun." Additionally, it is Baz Luhrmann's highest grossing film, and it won two Academy Awards, for Production Design and Costume Design.