Reel Rating: 4 out of 5 Reels
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some violent images, sexual content, smoking, partying and brief language.
Released in Theaters: May 10, 2013 (2D, 3D)
Genre: Drama, Romance, Based on a Book
Runtime: 142 minutes
Directed by: Baz Luhrmann
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, Carey Mulligan, Joel Edgerton, Isla Fisher, Amitabh Bachchan, Callan McAuliffe
Official Site: http://thegreatgatsby.warnerbros.com/
MOVIE SYNOPSIS: Based on the classic novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald, “The Great Gatsby” tells the story of a Midwestern war veteran who finds himself drawn to the past and lifestyle of his millionaire neighbor in 1920s Long Island.
Sex/Nudity: Infidelity is a major plot point, and married men sleep with and grope women who aren’t their wives. A couple is heard moaning (and a bed creaking) from behind closed doors. A couple kiss passionately and are later shown partially nude in bed, under the covers. One scene involves several women who are obviously there to service the men.
Violence/Gore: A man is beaten by two other men. A man strikes a woman. A women is run over by a car, and her body slams into the windshield and falls to the ground. A man is shot from a distance, and the shooter puts the gun in his mouth, though we don’t see his suicide.
Profanity: Infrequent use of “hell,” “damn,” “goddamn,” “oh my God,” and “son of a bitch.” A few racist comments. The soundtrack includes songs with “f*ck,” “sh*t” and “d*ck.”
Drugs/Alcohol: Lots of drinking and partying, and characters sometimes drive under the influence. A woman takes “mood pills,” and a character is described as “morbidly alcoholic.” Also plenty of smoking, which is accurate for the movie’s time period.
Which Kids Will Like It? Kids 14 and older who like book adaptations, Leonardo DiCaprio movies, or lush Baz Luhrmann films like “Moulin Rouge” and “Australia.”
Will Parents Like It? At 142 minutes, “The Great Gatsby” is a bit long, but it’s a feast for the eyes and follows the book fairly closely.
REVIEW: I was a little worried about “The Great Gatsby.” The trailers featured modern music by Kanye West and a glossy production right out of the pages of Vanity Fair. But the movie doesn’t disappoint, and the $51.1 million box office draw on opening weekend is evidence of that.
Director Baz Luhrmann brings his lush cinematic vision to the big screen, and all you have to do is settle back and take it all in. I even saw it in 3D (which I generally don’t do if given the choice), and would say it’s best seen this way. The 3D version really makes the decadent settings, posh decor, and out-of-control roadsters jump off the screen — in a good way.
If you’ve read the classic novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald, you know the story. Leonardo DiCaprio plays Jay Gatsby, the wealthy, mysterious and emotionally damaged man who moves into a Long Island mansion — make that palace — during the 1920s. Gatsby makes a name for himself by throwing lavish parties with crowds of people, fireworks and confetti, scantily-clad dancers and all the food and drink a reveler could want.
But we know his ultimate goal here. It’s all for the singular purpose of winning back his one true love, Daisy Buchanan (Carey Mulligan, who suits the Jazz age well). Daisy’s husband, Tom (Joel Edgerton), is way too preoccupied with his own indiscretions with his mechanic’s wife, Myrtle Wilson (Isla Fisher) to pay much attention to his young wife’s goings-on. But every night, Gatsby takes to his dock to gaze upon that green light on the dock across the bay. Daisy’s dock.
The story is told through Gatsby’s neighbor, Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire), who also happens to be Daisy’s cousin. Gatsby calls upon Nick to engineer a meeting between he and Daisy, and in the process, Nick witnesses a series of events that ultimately reveal Gatsby’s tragic flaws.
I wondered how the movie would tie into the book, and whether it would be too far removed from the pages to even resemble the Fitzgerald tale. But I needn’t have worried. Maguire’s introspective narration is the perfect way to meld the book and screen together, and Luhrmann slyly blends the actual words into the movie — the letters fading in and out as the story is told.
I love the visual feast offered up by Luhrmann’s movies, and “Gatsby” is a big buffet of color, style and sound, although oddly, the trailers actually offer more in the way of music than the film itself. We hear bits and pieces of music in the film — modern pop stars like Jay-Z, Kanye West, Fergie, Beyonce, and Florence and the Machine, mixed in with era-specific music by Cole Porter, Fats Waller, Jelly Roll Morton and others.
Maybe “Gatsby” will finally earn DiCaprio that elusive Oscar. He’s clearly one of the best actors of his generation (and oh, that smile, those eyes), and he somehow manages to throw everything into the title character: hope, heartbreak, longing, love and tragedy.
JANE’S REEL RATING SYSTEM:
One Reel – Even the Force can’t save it.
Two Reels – Coulda been a contender.
Three Reels – Something to talk about.
Four Reels – You want the truth? Great flick!
Five Reels – Wow! The stuff dreams are made of.