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Film / The Great Gatsby (2013)

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"I knew it was a great mistake for a man like me to fall in love."
Jay Gatsby

The Great Gatsby is a 2013 romantic drama film based on F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby. The film was directed by Baz Luhrmann and stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan, Tobey Maguire, Joel Edgerton, Elizabeth Debicki and Isla Fisher.

In The Roaring '20s, writer and wall street trader Nick Carraway (Maguire) finds himself drawn to the past and lifestyle of his millionaire neighbor, Jay Gatsby (DiCaprio). Gatsby, meanwhile, can't let go of his past love for Daisy (Mulligan), who's now married to another man, Tom Buchanan (Edgerton).

By far and away the most extravagant and visually dazzling adaptation of the novel to date (to the point of being released in 3-D), as well as the most faithful (to the point of quoting the book verbatim at numerous points), 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 1974 version has its own page here.

Tropes specific to the movie include:

  • '20s Bob Haircut: Obviously a fashion statement/trend worn by women in the film, considering it's set in The Roaring '20s. Although Daisy's and Jordan's hairstyles look anachronistic, with them sporting shingles, which only came out in 1923.
  • Actor Allusion: Nick reaches for the last drink on a tray too late and it's snatched by someone else. That exact thing happened to Peter Parker in Spider-Man 2.
  • Adaptation Distillation: The film cuts out Nick and Jordan's relationship as well as Gatsby's father and the owl-eyed man showing up to Gatsby's funeral, and the scene where Nick meets Tom after Gatsby's death.
  • 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 color 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.
    • Tom in the book is described as "straw-haired", but is depicted with dark hair in the film.
  • Adapted Out: Gatsby's father, Henry C. Gatz, doesn't show up to his funeral as he does in the book. A deleted scene would have included him, though.
  • Aloof Dark-Haired Girl: Jordan, thanks to Adaptation Dye-Job.
  • Anachronism Stew:
    • The soundtrack, filled with contemporary 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.
    • In 1922, Art Deco was still in its early stages in France and wouldn't be nearly as flamboyant as it is in the film until the 1930'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 beat up outside his gates by his gang.
  • 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 a beard following Gatsby's death.
  • Big Fancy House: The Buchanan mansion is very large, fitting their wealth. Gatsby's mansion is verging on Big Fancy Castle or Bright Castle, considering his Nouveau Riche status.
  • Bilingual Bonus: 'Ad Finem Fidelis', the Latin motto on Gatsby's front gate, translates into 'Faithful to the End'.
  • Bittersweet Ending: For Nick and only Nick. The experience causes him to go through a nervous breakdown and commit himself to an asylum, but while he's in there, his doctor encourages him to write about what he witnessed while in West Egg. This, along with getting to talk to his doctor in the first place, grants him some catharsis and he ends the movie on the path to recovery.
  • 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.
    • The movie opens with Gatsby's ring emblem being presented alongside the logos in the midst of CGI Art Deco scenery, then pulling out of view as the camera follows it into the film proper. The same scene plays in reverse at the very end, with the camera pulling back into the Art Deco space and the emblem reappearing.
  • Catchphrase: Gatsby calls everyone "old sport".
  • Cigarette of Anxiety: Daisy tries to light one after Gatsby pressures her to tell Tom that she never really loved him, and fails. Gatsby lights it for her.
  • Conspicuous Consumption: Gatsby's whole persona seems based on this; Tom is a slightly lesser example.
  • Cool Cars: As it is in the book, both Tom and Gatsby possess one.
  • Costume Porn: Everyone looks very sharp in their sparkling twenties outfits.
  • Creator Cameo: Baz Luhrmann is the waiter that brings Nick to Jordan's table to meet for tea after his lunch with Gatsby.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: Tom Buchanan's racist speech, already present in the source material to make him an unsympathetic person, is made even worse here by having him deliver his bigoted perspective while standing in front of an African American man working for him.
  • 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").
  • Double Standard Rape: Female on Male: Catherine borderline raped Nick during the apartment party. While sitting on his lap, she offers him one of her “nerve pills” which he declines. She then pops one in her mouth and kisses him, and makes him drink to swallow it. Nick is then shown very inebriated and Catherine continuously smooches him, while never explicitly shown drinking herself, and later drags him off for sex. Were the genders reversed it likely wouldn’t have been portrayed as romantic.
  • Downer Ending: Tom Buchanan's mistress (Myrtle) 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, though he ends the movie starting to recover.
  • Drives Like Crazy: Every main character who gets behind the steering wheel, from Gatsby to Tom to Daisy, who ends up killing Myrtle by hitting her with Gatsby's car.
  • The Flapper: Jordan and Catherine, full stop. Daisy merely plays at it.
  • Forceful Kiss: Nick receives several of these from Catherine shortly after meeting her.
  • 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.
  • Foregone Conclusion: The beginning of the film makes it very clear Jay Gatsby is dead.
  • 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. Not the case in one of the deleted scenes, however.
  • Loud Gulp: Gatsby does one during the tea time with Daisy and Nick, probably due to nervousness.
  • Moody Trailer Cover Song: One trailer had Filter's cover of '60s pop classic "Happy Together" by The Turtles.
  • Mouth To Mouth Force Feeding: At Tom and Myrtle's party, Catherine forces Nick to take one of her "nerve pills" by planting it in his mouth via a kiss.
  • 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 speaks with a stereotypically thick French accent.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Tom rants about race-mixing and keeping the lesser races down and calls Meyer Wolfshiem a 'kike', making him more overtly racist than he is in the book.
  • 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: Gatsby finally snaps at Tom, 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 condescendingly 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.
  • Recursive Canon: The film reveals Nick as having written the novel while undergoing psychiatric treatment.
  • 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 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, as he can hear them right through the walls.
  • Ripping Off the String of Pearls: Compared to the book, the film takes a few liberties with the scene right before Daisy's wedding to make it more dramatic and visually appealing. In both versions, Jordan informs Nick that Tom gifted Daisy a pearl necklace "valued at three hundred and fifty thousand dollars" as an engagement/ wedding present. In the book, a languidly drunk Daisy deposits her pearls into a waste basket next to her bed and tells Jordan to return them. In the film version, a violently drunken Daisy rips the pearls off her throat, screaming and crying as she casts them down a long hallway. The magnitude of her action is emphasized by a low angle shot that shows the pearls rolling away from her.
  • Sigil Spam: Gatsby's JG logo. It even extends to the credits, which are separated by versions with the director and producers' initials (may be confused with JZ).
  • Standard Snippet:
  • Statuesque Stunner: Jordan Baker (Elizabeth Debicki) is at least 6ft.
  • Spiritual Successor: Has a lot in common with Luhrmann's Moulin Rouge!, with acidic party scenes, a depressed writer glorifying an object of (platonic or romantic) affections, complicated relations and even a scene where the main male tells his rival that the main woman doesn't love him. Could be considered either a retread, or a deconstruction as realism more in this movie than Moulin Rouge!.
  • 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 he 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.
  • There Are No Therapists: Pleasantly averted. Nick starts to get his life back together after committing himself to an asylum thanks to a caring doctor who encourages him to talk about what happened to him when he was part of Gatsby's circle.
  • Third Wheel: Nick finds himself as the third wheel in Gatsby and Daisy's affair 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.
  • Truer to the Text: The film is much more faithful to the original novel than prior adaptations, to the point of frequently quoting Fitzgerald's text as it was published in 1925. The only major liberties are the modernized soundtrack and the framing device of Nick recounting the story to a therapist in an asylum (and even that serves to give an in-universe reason for the extensive narration).
  • Unlimited Wardrobe: Gatsby tosses his shirts to Daisy like confetti.


I'm Gatsby

Jay Gatsby introduces himself to Nick Carraway.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (12 votes)

Example of:

Main / ActuallyIAmHim

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