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Film: The Great Gatsby

The latest movie adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby by Baz Luhrmann, starring Leonardo DiCaprio as Jay Gatsby, Carey Mulligan as Daisy Buchanan, Tobey Maguire as Nick Carraway, Joel Edgerton as Tom Buchanan, Elizabeth Debicki as Jordan Baker and Isla Fisher as Myrtle Wilson. Far and away the most extravagant, visually dazzling adaptation of the story to date, the film notably keeps the 1922 setting of the novel but combines and contrasts authentic Jazz Age tunes with strikingly modern music and visuals.

The movie was released on May 10th, 2013.


Tropes specific to the movie include:

  • '20s Bob Haircut: Daisy and Jordan wear their hair like that.
  • Ability over Appearance: Indian actor Amitabh Bachchan plays white Jewish gangster Meyer Wolfshiem, who in the original book was a clear allusion to Arnold Rothstein.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job:
    • Jordan has dark yellow "hair like an autumn leaf" in the book and is also described as being tanned due to being a golfer in the book, but she's a pale-skinned brunette here.
    • Daisy's hair colour is somewhat ambiguous, she's described as both fair-haired and dark-haired in the book; here she's cast as a blonde.
      • Interestingly, Daisy and Jordan have been depicted as blonde and brunette, respectively, in every film version since the '40s.
  • Adorkable: Gatsby, Up to Eleven before the tea time with Nick and Daisy, oh Lord.
  • Aloof Dark-Haired Girl: Jordan, thanks to Adaptation Dye-Job.
  • Anachronism Stew:
    • The soundtrack, filled with recent Pop Star Composers and a highly lauded dubstep duo. A deliberate artistic choice very much like what Luhrmann did for Romeo+Juliet and Moulin Rouge!.
    • Gatsby's car is a Duesenberg. The model A would have fit the era of the movie (the first Duesenbergs were made in 1921), but the model used in the movie was an SJ model, which didn't start production until 1929.note 
    • New York City didn't have that many skyscrapers in the 1920's
  • Anti-Hero: Leonardo Dicaprio plays up Jay Gatsby's dark side, with him nearly punching Tom (in the novel, he merely argues with him), and ordering a rogue gangster to beat up at a party by his gang. This makes the suggestion that Gatsby "killed a man" even more probable than in the novel.
  • Art Deco: The movie's titles in the opening and in most of the promotional material.
  • Author Avatar: Nick is intended as this for F. Scott Fitzgerald. Tobey Maguire was likely cast because of his resemblance to Fitzgerald.
  • Award Bait Song: "Young and Beautiful" by Lana Del Rey, and "Over The Love" by Florence + the Machine.
  • Beard of Sorrow: Nick grows one following Gatsby's death.
  • Big Fancy House: The Buchanan mansion. Gatsby's mansion is verging on Big Fancy Castle / Bright Castle.
  • Bilingual Bonus: 'Ad Finem Fidelis', the Latin motto on Gatsby's front gate, translates into 'Faithful to the End'.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: Myrtle Wilson and her sister Catherine are redheads, to go with blonde Daisy and brunette Jordan.
  • Blood Is Squicker in Water: Not only Gatsby getting shot in the pool but also the brief shot of Gatsby tossing out the water he used to get Myrtle's blood off his car.
  • Book Ends: The short guitar riff in the overture that goes from 1:00 to 1:30 comes back full circle in the end credits theme "Together" by The xx.
  • Catch Phrase: Gatsby calls everyone "old sport".
  • Cat Smile: Daisy briefly sports one on a couple of occasions.
  • Conspicuous Consumption
  • Cool Cars: As it is in the book, both Tom and Gatsby possess one.
  • Costume Porn/Gorgeous Period Dress: Everyone looks very sharp, sparkling twenties
  • Gold Tooth: Unlike most examples Meyer Wolfshiem wears his on his tie in addition to (or in place of, since we never see them) his infamous cufflinks (for an example/Shout-Out, see Max Shreck's in Batman Returns).
  • Diegetic Switch: Several times in the movie it's made clear that the people onscreen are dancing to the modern hip-hop soundtrack. But in some cases the soundtrack is actually sung in a style consistent with 1920's jazz (with the original song overlaying it as well). This is most noticeable in the Speakeasy ("$100 Bill") and one of the party scenes ("Young and Beautiful").
  • Downer Ending: Tom Buchanan's mistress is run down by Daisy in Gatsby's car, for which he takes the blame. As this goes on, Buchanan tells Myrtle's husband where Gatsby lives. Gatsby goes swimming as Nick goes to work, but, while he's gone, Gatsby is murdered by the husband, who then commits suicide. Daisy and Tom pack up and go, leaving Gatsby to take the blame for Myrtle's death. Nobody attends his funeral but Nick, and his reputation is completely destroyed. Nick then loses faith in the world and commits himself to an Asylum. Inspiring stuff.
  • The Flapper: Jordan and Catherine, full stop. Daisy merely plays at it.
  • Foreshadowing: The dead leaves blowing around Gatsby's room during Daisy's first visit in about mid-to-late July and the touch of fall leaves as the group leaves the Buchanans on "the last, certainly the hottest day of summer" might show how Gatsby's dream is already dying; Gatsby's yellow car (driven by Tom) running over a watermelon on the way to Wilson's gas station.
  • Hope Spot: Swimming in his pool, Gatsby awaits the call of Daisy, anticipating that she will agree to run away with him. It is clearly shown that Daisy does indeed reach for her phone. Back at his mansion, Gatsby hears the ring and regains hope. But after Gatsby is shot, the audience sees that Daisy had backed away and that it was really Nick, at work, who was trying to reach Gatsby.
  • How We Got Here: The framing device is Nick explaining the source of his depression and disillusionment to his doctor at a sanitarium he's checked into following the events of the summer.
  • Kissing Cousins: Brought up humorously by Daisy when she visits Nick and discovers how his house is full of flowers courtesy of Gatsby, and murmurs that he must be in love with her.
  • Large Ham: Joel Edgerton has his moments as Tom Buchanan, particularly in the scene where he confronts Gatsby about his affair with Daisy and proceeds to mock him about his upbringing, complete with an almost cartoonishly Evil Laugh.
  • Leitmotif: Every time the green light at the end of Daisy's dock is visible onscreen, even when it's out of focus, the background music has the same note swelling in time with the light's pulse.
  • Logo Joke: The opening logos are shown as flat on a grayscale film full of scratches and hairs, ending on Gatsby's glyph, which slowly moves away as the picture moves from 2D to 3D and given color as the glyph turns into the green light. The same thing happens in reverse during the credits.
  • Lonely Funeral: Unlike in the book where Owl Eyes and Gatsby's father come to visit, it is only Nick who attends Gatsby's funeral.
  • Loud Gulp: Gatsby does one during the tea time with Daisy and Nick, probably due to nervousness.
  • My Friends... and Zoidberg: At Gatsby's party he introduces Nick and Daisy enthusiastically to his guests. He introduces Tom with considerably less enthusiasm and refers to him dismissively as "the Polo player".
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: DiCaprio's is not entirely consistent. Considering Gatsby's Nouveau Riche status, this may be less bad acting than good acting.
  • Poirot Speak / Gratuitous French: The Buchanan family's majordomo.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Tom rants about race-mixing and keeping the lesser races down and calls Meyer Wolfshiem a 'kike'.
  • Pop-Star Composer: Jay-Z contributes to the score, and is also one of the film's executive producers.
  • Promoted to Love Interest:
    • In the novel, Nick and Catherine at Myrtle's apartment just talk. In the 2013 film, she immediately flirts with him and they share passionate kisses, before eventually having a one-night stand.
    • Inverted with Nick's affair with Jordan Baker. He does try to pursue her and finds himself implicitly rejecting the chance of a relationship at the end, whereas in the book, they mutually break up. As revealed by deleted scenes, the relationship between Nick and Jordan was initially in the film.
  • Rage Breaking Point: After putting up with Tom's condescending attitude and insults during their confrontation for at least several minutes straight, Gatsby finally snaps at him in a big way, violently shoving a tray of glasses to the ground before pinning him to a table and threatening to punch him while screaming in his face. This was most likely at least partly because at that point, Daisy had just admitted that she'd be lying if she said she never loved Tom, and couldn't bring herself to break up with him as Gatsby had hoped. Before this, Gatsby had been convinced that she never realy loved him and that breaking up with him wouldn't be so hard, so this really put a dent in his goal to recreate the past and be with her. This, combined with Tom continuing to taunt him and his upbringing, finally proved too much for him to take, leading to his outburst. Of course, only moments later, he snaps out of it, and his horrified expression just screams "my gosh, what have I done?".
  • Real Men Wear Pink: Gatsby wears a pink suit at the climax.
  • Retraux: The film opens and ends with a grainy footage of the credits while jazz music plays, making it look like a film from the 1920s.
    • The scenes of Gatsby's wartime experience also look like treated footage of old period-era World War One newsreels.
    • There are times when the film looks colorized to match the colorized Stock Footage.
  • Right Through the Wall: Nick has an uncomfortable moment when Tom drags him along for his rendezvous with Myrtle.
  • Scenery Porn: Becomes Scenery Gorn in the region near West Egg, the Valley of Ashes.
  • Sigil Spam: Gatsby's JG logo. It even extends to the credits, which are separated by versions with the director and producers' initials (presumably, I could only recognize JZ).
  • Standard Snippet: Johann Sebastian Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D minor, during the intro to Gatsby's party. Played on screaming jazz trumpet before transitioning into standard organ, as played by Ewing Klipspringer ("dubious descendent of Beethoven").
    • And then Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue standing in for "The Jazz History of the World," doubling as Diegetic Music for The Reveal of Gatsby's identity.
  • Statuesque Stunner: Jordan Baker (Elizabeth Debicki) is at least 6ft.
  • Separated-At-Birth Casting: The actors who play young and teen Gatsby actually look and act very convincingly like Leonardo Di Caprio.
  • Stepford Smiler: Daisy is definitely one. While she tends to act like a typical woman from the 20's, it's revealed early on that she's really dealing with a lot of emotional baggage, a lot of which is a result of her marriage with Tom, which is really a lot more unhappy than it appears. And later on, we also discover that she was really planning on marrying Gatsby all those years ago, but when we went off to war and didn't return for several years, she ended up marrying Tom, only to discover right before the wedding that Gatsby was still alive, which sent her into a major Heroic BSOD, since by that point, she couldn't get out of the wedding. When we see her at the altar, the smile she's wearing could barely look more fake.
  • Stocking Filler: Myrtle and her sister Catherine wear some very fancy stockings and socks, in a variation of real 1920s trends.
  • 3-D Movie: Believe it or not.
  • Third Wheel: Nick finds himself as the third wheel in Gatsby and Daisy's affiar and Tom's affair with Myrtle.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: Gatsby's in bed with Daisy in the very first trailer; if you read the book they also include Daisy saying "You (Gatsby) always look so cool", which is practically a love confession in front of Tom; there's also a scene that might be George Wilson going for his gun. There's also a bit in the second trailer where Myrtle is struck by the car.
  • Unlimited Wardrobe: Gatsby tosses his shirts to Daisy like confetti.

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alternative title(s): Gatsby
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