The Great Gatsby returns in grandeur | Aran Kirschenmann | Movie Review

The Great Gatsby is captivating on the big screen. Infused with humor and tragedy, it remains faithful to Fitzgerald’s novel.


F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel, The Great Gatsby, tells of the roaring 1920s when the rich lived extravagantly, old money and new money were disdainful of each other, and Prohibition on alcohol led to a scandalous way of acquiring wealth through bootlegging.

First made into a film in 1974, the story follows Jay Gatsby, a mysterious, fantastically wealthy man, through the eyes of Nick Carraway, the young narrator who moved to New York looking to become successful on Wall Street. Nick quickly finds himself wrapped up in the secrets and scandals of Gatsby and the wealthy Buchanans. The plot is both a complicated love story as well as a critique of the excessive lifestyle of the rich during the 1920s and the deterioration of the American Dream.

Compared to the original film, the new The Great Gatsby is faster paced and more modern. It doesn’t follow the novel as closely as the older version, but was still highly accurate, making only slight modifications to improve the flow of the storyline.

Despite this, the movie lasts well over two hours with the ending a bit rushed leaving the conclusion less powerful.

This film is not as realistic as the original nor as true to the time period, instead having a more modern tone. For example, contemporary music, including rap, was used.

Most of the film’s action is found at Gatsby’s lavish, rowdy parties in which gaudily dressed people danced in the 1920s fashion, confetti and fireworks shot off, and illegal alcohol was consumed in abundance. The parties were very exciting to watch in all of their splendor.

Surprisingly, the film was in 3D which wasn’t a huge benefit, although the visuals were outstanding.

Leonardo DiCaprio as Gatsby displayed an amazing range of emotion and depth. Nonetheless, I would have liked the film to dig deeper into his character. Carey Mulligan brilliantly performed a critical role as Daisy Buchanan, Gatsby’s long-lost love. Tobey Maguire, famous for playing Spiderman, acted as Nick Carraway, but wasn’t particularly memorable. All of the actors adapted their language and style of speech to the 1920s, which elevated their portrayals.

Overall, The Great Gatsby is captivating on the big screen. Infused with humor and tragedy, it remained faithful to Fitzgerald’s novel.


Aran Kirschenmann, 16, is a contributing writer for the Bellevue Reporter and a Junior at Bellevue High School. You may reach and connect with her on her Facebook page “The Young Critic.”