Movie Review: The Great Gatsby


We got early tickets to see Gatsby Thursday night. As y’all can imagine, I was ridiculously excited. The theater was packed with many people dressed up which was so much fun to watch. Unfortunately, our theater had many technical glitches and they never could get the curtains to open all the way. Thankfully, the viewing experience wasn’t really affected and we got free movie passes as a bonus. Win.

The movie itself felt a lot like attending the circus. That’s what I kept saying. That’s what my gut automatically felt – like we were in a giant, colorful bigtop with Gatsby as our ringleader. And I’m still not sure what to say beyond that. I’ve been mulling over my thoughts for quite some time and think I might not fully comprehend my feelings until I’ve had another viewing. But here’s the randomness that has crossed my mind.

All of the actors were enjoyable, but Leo, Edgerton, and Mulligan take the cake for me. I had heard that Mulligan’s Daisy was often overacted, but I really enjoyed her performance so that was a surprising positive. When all of our main characters were in a room together, the movie shined. When the film was concentrating on green screening everything, I totally lost interest and was completely taken out of the story. Perhaps the plastic, fake look of the green screen was supposed to be a commentary on the absurdity and frailness of Gatsby’s world, but it didn’t work for me at all.

And while I adore the soundtrack on its own, in the movie the music was often jarring. There’s one scene in particular that could have played out in any nineties rap video starring Biggie Smalls. Nothing about that says 1920s to me. My husband even leaned over and was like WTF? The costuming, makeup, and jewelry were gorgeous and so faithful to the time period. Loved seeing everyone all dolled up.

In the end, I think I liked it more than disliked it. However, I’m not sure I have any sort of emotional attachment to what I watched. The ridiculous over-the-top imagery really detracted from the emotional depth and character development. Everything felt more like a plastic production than a movie focused on the humanity (or lack thereof) of its characters and the idolization of the American Dream. I think this version of The Great Gatsby will attract fans not familiar with the book and a much younger target audience. Perhaps some viewers will even find the book through this movie which is always a great thing.

I definitely want to hear what y’all think! Let me know in the comments. So far, most people have been very mixed with their opinions. Some love it desperately, others find it trite and shallow. I think I’m still on the fence.


I loved the humor! So many hilarious moments played wonderfully by Leonardo DiCaprio!


12 thoughts on “Movie Review: The Great Gatsby

  1. I cannot wait to see this! The book left a lot to be desired for me so I am looking forward to seeing what the film can do for me!

    • Oh, definitely. And I’m sure all Gatsby readers are finding their nearest theaters this weekend. I’m loving the discussion the film is provoking regardless of my feelings on the final product.

    • I’m so glad you enjoyed the movie! I desperately want to see it again. The green screen still just bugs the heck out of me when I think about it.

  2. I was hesitant to read any thoughts on the movie before I was able to see it but now that I have I’ve finally been able to read what you and Andi think. I have to admit I lean more towards Andi’s gushing. I knew going in that it was going to be wild and over the top and even warned Scott a million times that it would be strange (I still remember the WTF feeling I had when I saw Moulin Rouge for the first time). In terms of the music, the Biggie Smalls part was odd to me but the rest I found fit beautifully. I actually wanted more of those music clips rather than just the little taste we received–Especially the Xx and Jack White songs–ok maybe the Beyonce/Andre 3000 duet and Florence ones as well. I’d be curious to know if your opinion changes over time!

    • I’m so glad you liked it! I really want to love it – and maybe some re-watching will change my mind. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m such a Fitzgerald purist that I can’t let go and just have a good time. I do the same thing to Pride and Prejudice adaptations. I liked most of the music in Gatsby to be honest. The soundtrack itself didn’t bother me too much. The soundtrack with the visuals sometimes just seemed a bit too much for me. But that might just be something that happens the first time around and the shock factor will calm down later. I’m absolutely buying the dvd because at the end of the day it’s Gatsby which is more than most movies can claim!!

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