The Great Gatsby (2013 Film)

The Great Gatsby (2013 Film) Literary Elements


Baz Luhrmann

Leading Actors/Actresses

Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, Carey Mulligan, Joel Edgerton

Supporting Actors/Actresses

Elizabeth Debicki, Isla Fisher, Jason Clarke


Drama, Romance




Nominated: Oscar for Costume Design and Production Design

Date of Release

May 10th, 2013


Lucy Fisher

Setting and Context

New York, 1922

Narrator and Point of View

From narrator Nick Carraway's POV

Tone and Mood

Frivolous, raucous, and fun-filled, but also tragic, dramatic, and weighty. The film shifts rapidly between frenetic mayhem and emotional gravity.

Protagonist and Antagonist

While this is somewhat ambiguous, the protagonist could be seen as Jay Gatsby, and the antagonist, Tom Buchanan

Major Conflict

Gatsby's love for Daisy and his determination to win her, and Tom's extramarital affair with Myrtle


Gatsby hits Myrtle with his car and kills her, and continues driving, which causes a murder investigation around her death. The next day he is shot by George Wilson, seeking to avenge the death of his wife.


Gatsby's death is foreshadowed by all of the activity around the pool, and particularly the moment after the party that Tom Buchanan and Daisy attend. As Gatsby tells Nick about his past and his desire to reclaim Daisy, he throws a rock into the pool.


Much of Gatsby's gaudy and over-the-top displays of wealth are understated. When Gatsby waits for Daisy's arrival at Nick's house, he casually asks Nick if the flowers he bought are too much. This is a humorous moment because there are so many flowers in the room, that one could hardly deny that there are too many, but Nick politely says that it is just what Gatsby wanted.

Innovations in Filming or Lighting or Camera Techniques

The entire film is full of innovative lighting techniques, larger-than-life production design, and meticulous art direction. At times, it seems as though the art direction and the aesthetics are just as important as the narrative. The excessive and vivid colors, lighting, set pieces, and frenetic photography are signature styles employed by director Baz Luhrmann. The interpolation of modern music in the highly stylized period piece is also innovative. While the film takes place in the 1920s, much of the music is from the 2010s.


During Gatsby's origin story, the film alludes to his belief that he is the son of God, a Biblical allusion.


Daisy marries Tom in order to achieve happiness by becoming wealthy and forgetting about Gatsby, but Tom turns out to be an adulterous brute, and when Gatsby comes back into her life, she cannot be with him. Another paradox is that Gatsby is able to accumulate all the extravagances money can buy, but he cannot win Daisy.