Although Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby, is blowing up the box office on the weekend of its debut, the film critics just don’t seem to like the movie too much.
The film is the fourth big screen adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 1925 novel, which follows would-be writer Nick Carraway as he’s drawn into Jay Gatsby’s lavish circle of the super rich, all their excesses, and becomes a witness to obsession and tragedy. The latest take on the popular novel stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, Carey Mulligan, Isla Fisher, Joel Edgerton and Jason Clarke.
With a budget of over a $100 million, The Great Gatsby is expected to amass over $50 million in its opening weekend and should prove very profitable if the trend continues overseas. The critics praised DiCaprio’s performance, but many reviewers felt the movie fails to live up to the ultimate vision of the book.
Here are some excerpts from various Great Gatsby reviews from around the web, showing what many critics had to say about the movies.
U.S. News and World Report notes the film “falls short trying to serve both the Fitzgerald original and its filmmaker’s aesthetic.”
The New York Times points out that it’s “less a conventional movie adaptation than a splashy, trashy opera, a wayward, lavishly theatrical celebration of the emotional and material extravagance that Fitzgerald surveyed with fascinated ambivalence.”
Joe Morgenstern of the Wall Street Journal: “This dreadful film even derogates the artistry of Fitzgerald, who wrote ‘The Great Gatsby’ while living on Long Island and in Europe. In a deviation from the book that amounts to a calumny against literary history, Nick, the author’s surrogate, is discovered in a psychiatric hospital where, as an aging alcoholic, he struggles to comprehend the vanished figure at the center of the long-ago story, and finally completes his treatment by writing the novel. It’s literature as therapy, and Gatsby as Rosebud.”
Rafer Guzman of Newsday gave it 3 out of 4 stars, noting: “The fourth adaptation of the Fitzgerald novel scores some hits and wild misses, but DiCaprio nails the bull’s-eye. He is Gatsby, though ‘Gatsby’ has yet to be made.”
Todd McCarthy of The Hollywood Reporter: “The cast is first-rate, the ambiance and story provide a measure of intoxication and, most importantly, the core thematic concerns pertaining to the American dream, self-reinvention and love lost, regained and lost again are tenaciously addressed.”
Ann Hornaday of the Washington Post: “Despite timely relevance, enduring truths and Luhrmann’s earnest efforts to make ‘The Great Gatsby’ jump off the screen, he — and we — finally can’t help but fail to grasp it.”
David Edelstein of New York magazine: “The best thing about Baz Luhrmann’s much-anticipated/much-dreaded The Great Gatsby is that, for all its computer-generated whoosh and overbroad acting, it is unmistakably F. Scott Fitzgerald’s ‘The Great Gatsby.’ That is no small deal.”
Connie Ogle of the Miami Herald: “Baz Luhrmann’s ‘The Great Gatsby’ is a failure that should have at least been a magnificent mistake, a risky endeavor that showed a daring intent even if its brash vision didn’t quite succeed. Instead, the movie leaves you cold and weary and vaguely disgusted, like you’ve just spent a night of debauchery at Gatsby’s mansion, and now the sun is up, and it’s time to fish the cigarette butts and champagne bottles out of the pool.”
Mike Bertha of the Philadelphia Inquirer: “Here I am, disappointed with Luhrmann’s film, in part because I refused to quell my own anticipation. But, also, because the latest interpretation of Gatsby seemed to distort the values fans of the story hold so dearly.”
Do these reviews affect your plans to see “The Great Gatsby”?