YMMV / The Great Gatsby

The novel:

  • Accidental Aesop: Women can't drive!
  • Alternative Character Interpretation: People have written papers on the different interpretations (of course many of the interpretations below are not exclusive):
    • Is Gatsby a manipulative and scheming stalker; or a broken man who idealizes Daisy, and pursues that idealized version of her?
    • Jordan Baker; just as bad as everyone else, or a product of the times (explaining her cheating and lying)? Or is she just a cynical person from a wealthy background who isn't really friends with the Buchanans, and just snarks behind their backs? The 1974 version seems to support the last theory.
    • Tom Buchanan: a brutish, racist abuser, or just a jealous man in a loveless marriage?
    • Daisy Buchanan: shallow and flighty? Materialistic and manipulative? Or a Broken Bird trapped in a marriage with a cheating man who possibly abuses her?
    • Nick: he spends the entire book talking about how kind and decent he is, how he doesn't judge people, and engaging in tragic-hero-worship of Gatsby, but when he knows someone's out to kill him (and is in a position to at least try to stop the death of this man he supposedly admires so much), he just stands by and lets it happen. Honest, decent Midwesterner, or just as much of a hypocrite as everyone else in the book? Not to mention being aware of the various affairs transpiring around him, but choosing to keep his mouth shut.
    • Myrtle: Is she a shallow Gold Digger who is obsessed with social climbing? Or is she a working class victim trapped in a snobbish society, who is married to a man she does not love and loves a man (Tom) who just uses her for sex?
  • Anvilicious: Let's just say the book's message can simply be boiled down to "No amount of glamor and/or money can ever get you back what you really want". As shown through the various decidedly unsympathetic rich characters.
  • Do Not Do This Cool Thing: Thoroughly averted. The decadent rich are portrayed not only as despicably amoral but also as living dreary lives of quiet despair amidst all their self-indulgence. The only wealthy characters who seem to get any joy at all out of life are Gatsby (because he's got a higher purpose in his pursuit of what he thinks is true love) and Nick (because he's got at least a semblance of morals), and even they don't come across as particularly enviable.
  • Ending Fatigue: To a certain extent, although it could also be "starting fatigue". The plot moves very slowly until all of the characters go to New York around chapter seven or eight, at which point it speeds up significantly, then slows down again when they leave.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple: Nick/Gatsby, nicknamed "Natsby" by the fandom, is widely preferred over Daisy/Gatsby, Jordan/Nick, or just about any other possible pairing in the book, mainly due to the vast amounts of Ho Yay to back it up, and the fact that it's the only pairing that could conceivably be, you know, functioning and healthy.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • Meyer Wolfsheim, the Jewish mobster, works in an office labeled "The Swastika Holding Company." The book was written in the 20s. Oh boy. Interestingly, the book was not well known until it was republished and hit the peak of its popularity immediately after WWII.
    • Not to mention Nick referring to the Murder-Suicide using the term 'holocaust'.
    • The book is also dedicated to Fitzgerald's wife, Zelda, who was later committed to an asylum.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: Tom, Daisy, and the rest of the novel's idle rich might seem to get away with everything they do without consequence. But considering that the Great Depression is only a few years away, their inevitable fate of losing everything does grant the reader some closure.
  • Ho Yay: Nick seems quite… obsessed with Gatsby, pretty much all the way through the novel. "There was something gorgeous about him"? Not to mention the Nick/McKee scene at the end of chapter 2.
    • Albeit it should be noted that much of this is the result of language drift since the novel was written—as per the example above, which uses "gorgeous" in its original sense of "splendid" and/or "showy".
    • Look at Nick's excuse for coming east, mentioned in his first meeting with the Buchanans. He used to spend a lot of time with a girl as Platonic Life-Partners, but everyone drew the wrong impression and started expecting him to propose, which he didn't want to do. Why not? The novel never answers, leaving readers to decide whether they were Like Brother and Sister or The Beard.
    • The video game drops all subtlety, having Nick as the hero and, most importantly, Gatsby as the Distressed Dude Nick has to save.
    • This scene, between Nick and Mr McKee ("a pale feminine man"), comes across as either a hookup or an attempted hookup foiled by drunkenness and Mr McKee preferring to show off his photography. Especially if you take the lever as a phallic symbol and the ellipses as a Sexy Discretion Shot:
      "Come to lunch some day," he suggested, as we groaned down in the elevator.
      "Keep your hands off the lever," snapped the elevator boy.
      "I beg your pardon," said Mr. McKee with dignity, "I didn't know I was touching it."
      "All right," I agreed, "I'll be glad to."
      . . . I was standing beside his bed and he was sitting up between the sheets, clad in his underwear, with a great portfolio in his hands.
  • Hype Backlash: Many classes at the college and high school level take offense at the "definitive American novel" title based on the stupidity of its characters and the soap opera nature of its plot. Just as many argue that Fitzgerald wanted to attack East Coast Rich Bitch lifestyle with a thinly veiled Take That!.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Daisy could be considered this. While she does have both a troubled past and present life (stuck with a Jerkass husband), it still doesn't really excuse her casual dismissal of Gatsby following the latter's death.
  • Memetic Mutation: WHAT BABY
    • The Green Light. Explanation 
  • Misaimed Fandom: The story viciously and repeatedly lampoons rich, upper-class American society. Guess what sort of parties are Great Gatsby-themed? (Ex: Greek, "The Great Cappie")
    • Also, those who feel inspired by the book to pursue their dreams of money and social status, ignoring how Gatsby amassed his wealth through criminal activity and the way it turns out that his image of Daisy, his real goal, was naught but an idealized dream.
    • Similarly, Lauren Conrad continually points out how much she loves the book because she's "obsessed with the style of the 20s!".
    • People hate on Daisy for rejecting Gatsby, when there are much worse characters than her in the book. Like for example, Tom, who beats women, cheats on his wife, ascribes to racist Nordicism, and is actually responsible for Gatsby's death.
  • Nausea Fuel: Myrtle Wilson's death.
    • Meyer Wolfsheim's cufflinks. They're human teeth.
  • Three Scenes Wonder: Hitler shows you how "The Owl-Eyed Man is a marker inserted by Fitzgerald to give cryptic clues to you numb nuts about what the novel is really about.
  • Vindicated by History: The novel was forgotten during the Great Depression and WWII, and didn't sell that well when it was first released. Over the years it has become standard reading material in academics.
  • The Woobie: Gatsby—though most of it is his fault. Also, his father.

The 1974 movie:

The 2013 movie:

  • Awesome Music:
  • Award Snub: A lot of critics were disappointed that Lana Del Rey's "Young and Beautiful" didn't get nominated for Best Original Song at the Oscars. And despite that one of the nominated songs, "Alone Yet Not Alone", got its nomination revoked due to violating the promotional regulations, "Young and Beautiful" didn't get to fill the spot.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment:
    • Several. Nick watches a black man riding in a car with a white chauffeur (this was in the novel as well).
    • Three waiters beat up a drunk outside of Gatsby's house.
  • Broken Base:
    • The soundtrack which is produced by Jay-Z. Baz Luhrmann thought that fusing jazz with hip-hop would attract the modern audience. Some people found it a bit jarring and still prefer the classic jazz without the rapping. However, there are those who like it and having Lana Del Rey and Florence + the Machine as contributors would help.
    • On that note, letting a director known for his flashy, indulgent style adapt a novel condemning that very style. Some think it's a good idea, others think it's a horrible one. Some might argue it's Baz's method of a deconstruction.
  • Critical Dissonance: Critics gave the movie mixed reviews with a 50% rating in Rotten Tomatoes. However, the movie was doing well in the box office, landing at No.2 when it first came out. Its critical reviewers' score also sits at about 50%, whereas the viewers' score is 67%.
  • Genius Bonus:
    • The bandleader at Gatsby's parties is named Trimalchio, which is a shout-out to Satyricon where a character by the same name is famous for his elaborate parties. Additionally "Trimalchio" and "Trimalchio in West Egg" were possible titles for the book.
    • At the end of the "'Can't repeat the past'? Of course you can!" scene, Gatsby walks between a statue of two ravens which could represent Oden's ravens Huginn (thought) and Muninn (memory) — appropriate since Gatsby's thoughts are always on his memories of Daisy.
  • Ho Yay: Nick meets Gatsby. The use of Gershwin's ''Rhapsody in Blue'' makes it that much better.
    • The opening of the movie has a marked similarity to Baz Luhrmann's other film Moulin Rouge! where the protagonist is introduced mourning the death of his beloved and writing about their time together, which is used as a Framing Device for the rest of the movie.
    • When Nick brings Daisy to meet Gatsby at his house, he stays outside of the room and hears her shocked reaction (which he assumes is to seeing Gatsby). His expression can easily be compared to a situation involving I Just Want My Beloved to Be Happy.
  • It Was His Sled: The beginning makes it very clear Gatsby is dead.
  • Memetic Mutation: "Old Sport" has become a somewhat popular thing to say on tumblr.
  • Misaimed Fandom: If the trailers—filled with Gorgeous Period Dress and Scenery Porn—are any indication, there may be an increase in misaimed fandom…
    • Especially now that Gatsby is played by Leonardo DiCaprio, Gatsby is being treated as a Tragic Hero by fandom, for all the wrong reasons. The Fandom sees him as the ultimate Woobie who lost out on his true love. In the story, Gatsby is a Tragic Hero, not necessarily because he failed to end up with Daisy, but because he dedicated his endless talent and ambition trying to become part of a society that cared nothing for him.
    • Along the same lines, the movie led to a disturbing amount of viewers who began to search for the Gatsby to their Daisy or vice versa, much like Romeo and Juliet, grossly misinterpreting the film if they even watched it at all.
  • One-Scene Wonder: Owl-Eyes.
  • Romantic Plot Tumor: Some criticize the film for trying to turn it into an outright love story between Daisy and Gatsby. The best example of this would be that the scene where Gatsby sees Daisy's daughter and realizes that things can't go back to exactly how they were is entirely omitted.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: Most of the backgrounds are shot in CGI as shown in the VFX Breakdown video.