'The Great Gatsby': What the critics are saying
May 9th, 2013
04:44 PM ET

'The Great Gatsby': What the critics are saying

"The Great Gatsby" has yet to be successfully adapted by Hollywood and - depending on which critic you ask - Baz Luhrmann hasn't pulled it off, either.

'Unfilmable' novels? No such thing, says Hollywood

When it comes to the director's take on F. Scott Fitzgerald's slender novel, critics have found it to be full of style but lacking in substance.

Leonardo DiCaprio stars as the titular "Great" Jay Gatsby, a man hiding his humble beginnings behind his new money and put-on airs. Carey Mulligan's taken inspiration from the Kardashians to play Daisy Buchanan, the wealthy woman Gatsby desperately wants but who's also married to the brutish Tom (Joel Edgerton). Tobey Maguire, as Daisy's cousin Nick Carraway, serves as the narrator of the tale.

After months of anticipation - and plenty of leaks from the soundtrack - Luhrmann's "Gatsby" will bow in theaters starting tonight. The general consensus from critics is that you should leave any expectations established by Fitzgerald's classic outside of the theater, and come prepared to strap in for a very glitzy ride:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GSMiWf4GCZM?feature=player_embedded&w=450&h=360%5D

Time magazine: "No question that Baz Luhrmann has concocted the worthiest, tenderest and most extreme of these adaptations."

Rolling Stone: "Aside from the staggering beauty of Catherine Martin's costumes, nothing works. The actors are buried in the art direction, along with feeling. The film looks as stiff and lifeless as a posh store window ... There may be worse movies this summer than 'The Great Gatsby,' but there won't be a more crushing disappointment."

USA Today: Luhrmann "has fashioned a gaudy long-form music video ... So much effort seems to have gone into the eye-popping production design, swooping camera work and anachronistic musical score that the result is hyper-active cacophony rather than enthralling entertainment."

New York Times: "[D]espite what you may have heard, it is an eminently enjoyable movie. ... Mr. Luhrmann’s reverence for the source material is evident. He sticks close to the details of the story and lifts dialogue and description directly from the novel’s pages. But he has also felt free to make that material his own, bending it according to his artistic sensibility and what he takes to be the mood of the times. The result is less a conventional movie adaptation than a splashy, trashy opera, a wayward, lavishly theatrical celebration of the emotional and material extravagance that Fitzgerald surveyed with fascinated ambivalence."

Chicago Tribune: "Despite a few good ideas and the uniformly splendid production and costume designs by Luhrmann's mate and partner, Catherine Martin, this frenzied adaptation of 'The Great Gatsby' is all look and no feel. .. If you liked 'Moulin Rouge!' — Luhrmann's hyperactive ode to Paris at the end of the 19th century — you'll probably find a lot to admire here."

Los Angeles Times: "The director has steadfastly proclaimed his passion for the novel, but the film he's made of it too often plays as no more than an excuse to display his frantic, frenetic personal style."

Entertainment Weekly: "There's a reason 'The Great Gatsby' continues to be taught in classrooms nearly 90 years after it was written. ... Too bad Luhrmann, the caffeinated conductor, doesn't trust that story enough. He'd rather blast your retinas into sugar-shock submission."

Filed under: movies • Summer movies

soundoff (163 Responses)
  1. unless its leo...your post world is over PinHead

    after comps cables...

    May 13, 2013 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Set Up...We print from outside and inside machines...

    what a dumb cast

    May 13, 2013 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Status of you right in front me--pinhead


    May 13, 2013 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Status report for May 13 IP entry

    Good movie; lots of braless boobs.

    May 13, 2013 at 10:21 am | Report abuse |
  5. Meh

    The script was probably good before Hollywood got hold of it. But seriously, we dont care.

    May 13, 2013 at 9:06 am | Report abuse |
  6. Wayne

    This is at least CNN's third article on this movie in the past week. We don't actually care about it that much.

    May 13, 2013 at 9:01 am | Report abuse |
  7. Donnie the Lion

    Great book, but the movie makes it look like everyone from that time period was a jerk, an idiot, a psychotic, or some combination of the three. Nice house, cars, and clothes though....and the music is good.

    May 13, 2013 at 8:25 am | Report abuse |


    May 13, 2013 at 7:15 am | Report abuse |


    May 13, 2013 at 7:14 am | Report abuse |


    May 13, 2013 at 7:09 am | Report abuse |
  11. also letting people who know who i am through ugly people

    does not work because everyone knows i'm attractive.....so therefore more too go but we do like your wasted energy.

    May 12, 2013 at 11:56 pm | Report abuse |
  12. No june is the problem

    too much damage too the script and there is tons for everyone to do.

    May 12, 2013 at 11:51 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Deepriver

    I almost left before the end. Sorry, this is not as bad as some say, but by June, none will remember.

    May 12, 2013 at 11:47 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Thumbs Down

    The most unwatchable movie since, "The English Patient" and "Caddshack 2 ".

    May 12, 2013 at 11:25 pm | Report abuse |
  15. boobies...

    that's all it was.

    May 12, 2013 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  16. hey brenda and joey

    outbacks thursday?

    May 12, 2013 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
  17. the_dud

    I cant wait for the porn adaptations of this movie

    May 12, 2013 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
  18. tom

    Can barely remember the '73 version, but let's.face it – its cast was unbeatable.

    May 12, 2013 at 7:38 am | Report abuse |
    • John

      A complete contradiction: You can't remember the other version, but the cast was unbeatable?

      "That was the best meal I've ever eaten!"
      "Yeah? What did you have?"
      "I don't remember."

      May 12, 2013 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ha ha ha


      May 13, 2013 at 9:00 am | Report abuse |
  19. review came in too my phone around 4pm

    the blonds face said it all...

    May 12, 2013 at 6:22 am | Report abuse |
  20. Listen too me men...there is NOTHING we need too worry about.

    have a great night all!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    May 11, 2013 at 10:26 pm | Report abuse |
  21. Let us not start...let us go forward...

    great movie and i love the glamour

    May 11, 2013 at 9:49 pm | Report abuse |
  22. here is my gatsby for 1 year...

    gummy bear chicks.....puhleaze..

    May 11, 2013 at 9:48 pm | Report abuse |
  23. I_Hate_Reading


    I HATE Gatsby!!!!! THis book is CRAP!!! I HATE that MY TEcher MADE ME read this CR@P when I was a KID!!! GROS GROSS GROSS GROSS GROSS GROSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    May 11, 2013 at 9:40 pm | Report abuse |
  24. Sorry Gatsby--

    i needed another hour and guess who comes up on bb -– its a nut...lets go forward..

    May 11, 2013 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • rker321

      I am still remembering that I actually walked out on Moulin Rougue which I thought was one of the worse movies on this decade.
      I don't feel that all the plush and glamour that apparently this movie has, is going to make me spend a penny on the price of the ticket.

      May 11, 2013 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • M.A.P.

      OMG I walked out on Moulin Rouge too! All my girlfriends were saying its the best thiing ever but I was horrified and couldnt even find it funny it was just the worst trash i'd ever seen! When they did that can can "So exciting" song – that was the last straw!!!!

      May 12, 2013 at 4:31 am | Report abuse |
  25. She's NADA let's move on please...


    May 11, 2013 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
  26. with all my acting for 1 year...its this nerd from town hat shows up on bb?

    oh no......believe me completely and utterly ignorable....listen too me....

    May 11, 2013 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
  27. Marjorie

    I predict this movie will be right up there with "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?"

    May 11, 2013 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
  28. looze.

    May 11, 2013 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
  29. basement video, rich video


    May 11, 2013 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
  30. This machine is hacked in 24 hours a day

    May 11, 2013 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
  31. Meeting with cnn on ip address blogging control

    not me..."them"

    May 11, 2013 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
  32. Print everything and match too all blogs...thanks

    Meeting with cnn on ip address control–

    May 11, 2013 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
  33. worst cast in history

    ruled out jealous and pathetic... ...

    May 11, 2013 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
  34. 24/7 watch is a must...and ordered...thanks

    May 11, 2013 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
  35. family and friends on watch now....


    May 11, 2013 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
  36. controlling ip addresses, boxed in machines is grounds for stalking and harrassment charges.


    May 11, 2013 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
  37. Nojo....wants all under lock and key...thanks

    harrassment, stalking charges, boxed in machines are considered stalking and hacking

    May 11, 2013 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
  38. didn't want me around but wants too dump files and stalk...

    don't think so......reports foward too LYRS

    May 11, 2013 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
  39. watch now file

    the cast would be better off if they had a better female for the role

    May 11, 2013 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
  40. Out of state watching...confirmed


    May 11, 2013 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
  41. this is not just a cute guy....friends and family on watch for others

    May 11, 2013 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
  42. she's been hacked in for almost 1 year

    california meeting when out there

    May 11, 2013 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
  43. bunch of cait files..

    addiction at its best

    May 11, 2013 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
  44. dmrc

    worst actress in history

    May 11, 2013 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
  45. mtv

    May 11, 2013 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  46. all I's

    don't forget

    May 11, 2013 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  47. UK


    May 11, 2013 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
  48. coward won't print parental hacking


    May 11, 2013 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
  49. bullets file


    May 11, 2013 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
  50. she is hacked in right now...


    May 11, 2013 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
  51. are we all on?

    May 11, 2013 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
  52. pliny showed up in drive 2 or 3 pls confirm

    good job

    May 11, 2013 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
  53. She is in this IP addres right now...

    continue too make sure blog names in drive are attached too everything–clote was the new one

    May 11, 2013 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
  54. Everything in Nicki done?

    are we all on? bb

    May 11, 2013 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
  55. coward won't print parents photos and file...

    gee i wonder why

    May 11, 2013 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
  56. all CAT or CAIT is completed===


    May 11, 2013 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
  57. how we doing with the files we almost done?


    May 11, 2013 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
  58. Rerun all files on all 4 machines again--sorry

    he's not satisfied with CAT–thanks

    May 11, 2013 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
  59. Wants west coast mystery solved--oh boy


    May 11, 2013 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
  60. fones, accounts everything...it still may have too "serve"

    oh no-meeting asap on outside machines.

    May 11, 2013 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
  61. all the account hackings...not comfortable...thanks.


    May 11, 2013 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |


    May 11, 2013 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
  63. Jealousy and hard work went no place....but the trash can

    Boss says...business as usual cuz we got 4 machines-

    May 11, 2013 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
  64. discussed: all the actresses hard work went right too the trash

    its business as usual because of 4 technology car crashes....KAPEESH SISTAH

    May 11, 2013 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
  65. Voted: A Jealous Woman

    they did love her acting...but it did not work

    May 11, 2013 at 1:14 pm | Report abuse |
  66. they have the hots for the blond actresss...


    May 11, 2013 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
  67. Mostly on C

    i am so happy for leo....the ratings have gone through the roof

    May 11, 2013 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
  68. all DATS--

    the cast is outstanding and i cannot wait too see this movie

    May 11, 2013 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
  69. insaniquarium c

    I am so proud of Leo

    May 11, 2013 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse |
  70. peggle c

    Those men are hot..

    May 11, 2013 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
  71. be jeweled 2c

    I agree Decaprio will win....he is a fine actor.

    May 11, 2013 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
  72. fffffffffffff.bin c

    decaprio will win the oscar

    May 11, 2013 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
  73. ONE NOTE MUI c

    best cast...

    May 11, 2013 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
  74. Print and Attach all of this filming too blog names and drives...

    thanks gatsby!!!!

    May 11, 2013 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
  75. B-tch50

    CA's--not quality film

    May 11, 2013 at 12:26 pm | Report abuse |
  76. Suzanne kieckers

    Whatever happened to the real jay gatsby?

    May 11, 2013 at 10:43 am | Report abuse |
  77. Crack is BACK!


    May 11, 2013 at 9:28 am | Report abuse |
  78. Sashatree


    May 11, 2013 at 9:25 am | Report abuse |
  79. M.A.P. (Mothers against poo)

    The Great Shatsby – splattered all over the immaculate floor. FAIL.

    May 11, 2013 at 6:27 am | Report abuse |
  80. Cracked The Liar

    The book is much better then the movie.

    May 10, 2013 at 11:02 pm | Report abuse |
  81. Dry Pliny

    maybe that was her he was talking about hmmmmmmm

    May 10, 2013 at 8:24 pm | Report abuse |
  82. the music is right here...

    would you like too see it kitty?

    May 10, 2013 at 8:23 pm | Report abuse |
  83. Uncle Joe

    I like the 1973 version with Robert Redmond and Mia Farrow. The music was awesome too!

    May 10, 2013 at 7:04 pm | Report abuse |
  84. drinker75

    I have never read the book but really enjoyed the movie. Glad I didn't read any reviews until after I'd seen it. I had no expectations whatsoever.

    May 10, 2013 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
  85. Pliny we've had enuff of you...k?

    Tea is all over the place....and its all THAT ONES ATTENTION SEEKING FAULT....

    May 10, 2013 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
  86. Can i go---1 million files on my computers is trying to top me again..


    May 10, 2013 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
  87. talulah

    The reason The Great Gatsby continues to be taught in classrooms 90 years after it was written is because curriculum does not change and some teachers (some) can not think outside the box and bring new literature into the classroom.. I hated the book 40 years ago and as a teacher, I still see untold students disliking this book. Please English Depts. , move on from The Great Gatsby!!

    May 10, 2013 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Teddy

      Hi, my 9th grade teacher made us read Tropic of Cancer, Lolita, Ulysses, Mein Kampf, Factotum, American Psycho, The Satanic Bible and the Turner Diaries this year and write book reports on them. I didn't do any of the reading and used CliffsNotes instead.

      May 10, 2013 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • James Crafford

      II am a teacher too and loved the book entirely although I read it much later in life and relied on Cliffs Notes when I was in college.

      May 11, 2013 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
  88. Hey Stan

    I thought the movie was excellent...you should see it some time -

    May 10, 2013 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Stan

      Different strokes for different folks... but I didn't like the book and I've never liked any of Baz's movies that I've seen. I can't really envision a scenario where I'd enjoy Gatsby.

      May 10, 2013 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
  89. Not a fan either1 ..never was

    but the actress did her best to get ratings......meow

    May 10, 2013 at 12:24 pm | Report abuse |
  90. Not a Fan

    Won't be seeing the movie, but the book was one of the most boring I've ever read!

    May 10, 2013 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Norm

      if you found one of the great novels ever written boring, something wrong with you, my friend

      May 10, 2013 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • what are talking about him or the book...

      if we are talking about him...he is not boring if we are talking about the TOPIC above yes the book was boring...the movie was better....

      May 10, 2013 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Stan

      Exactly. I couldn't even finish the book. Baz is a total hack too, so I can't see how this could be anything other than a bad movie. It's a pity because the sets and costumes look outstanding from the clips I've seen.

      May 10, 2013 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • "Sets and costumes look outstanding..."?

      are you one of those gays?

      May 10, 2013 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Stan

      They were "the gay 20's".

      May 10, 2013 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • :)


      May 10, 2013 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Deboreah

      she's next...

      May 10, 2013 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
  91. (Reblogged)

    Pliny [plin-ee]
    noun Slang: Vulgar.
    1. a piece of excrement.
    2. a mean, contemptible person.
    3. a troll.

    May 10, 2013 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
  92. sybaris

    Why on earth would you pair 21st century music with an EARLY 20th century set film?

    Jay-Z in The Great Gatsby, really?!

    It's like watching a western set in the 1840's with Pink's greatest hits for the musical score.

    May 10, 2013 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
    • Anita

      They have been doing that for several years now. It's not my favorite thing but depending on the movie I can handle it.

      May 10, 2013 at 11:37 am | Report abuse |
    • Jen

      I love it but I'm one of those people that can think outside the box. I love the blending of styles.

      May 10, 2013 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • TJ

      Because they want to attract the teen demographic esp. the highschoolers that are reading the novel now.

      May 10, 2013 at 6:47 pm | Report abuse |
  93. M.A.P.

    Luhrmann's style just annoys me. Moulin Rouge was so bad I walked out of the theatre, and I never so that. The way he tries to updsate classics with modern pop songs is sacrelidge. Romeo and Juliet is probably the best thing he's done and that was nearly 20 years ago! Anyone see Australia? No? Me neither!!!!

    May 10, 2013 at 2:37 am | Report abuse |
    • Anita

      M.A.P. I couldn't disagree with you more...which to me only illustrates that Luhrmann's style isn't for everyone, and there's very little middle ground, you either like him...or you don't but there are a great many people who DO like him, far more who do...than don't. I happened to love every movie you mentioned, because I SAW them. Australia was an amazing movie!! Oh and sacrilidge is only applicable to "religion", not movies.

      May 10, 2013 at 11:08 am | Report abuse |
    • Anita


      I'm sure YOU have never accidentally spelled a single word incorrectly...now have you?

      May 10, 2013 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
    • John

      Pliny is a bothersome troll we've been having to deal with recently. Just ignore him or click on the Report Abuse link. He's just some stupid kid who should be paying attention in class, or a fat, middle-aged loser sitting alone in his elderly mother's basement trolling and spamming all day.

      May 10, 2013 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
    • Alvarez

      John, come closer so I can deposit a large steaming turd upon your forehead.

      May 10, 2013 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pliny


      This 'pliny' is my personal pliny-troll.

      I believe he is 'triumph the insult dog'....or one of the posters who is obsessed with posting the same 'poop' stuff again and again and again.

      Either way....he is a child who needs to be 'corrected'. He's not very bright. He is not creative at all.

      May 10, 2013 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • M.A.P. (Mothers against poo)

      English is slowly becoming my second language so I have an excuse. I thought sacriledge in the modern meaning could be applied to anything, religeon or movies

      May 11, 2013 at 6:30 am | Report abuse |
    • Pliny

      Poop. Poop in my butt. Poop in my mouth.


      May 13, 2013 at 9:05 am | Report abuse |
  94. mandy

    Lame ! If Baz really wanted to update gatzby he would have cast it with a black and hispanic mix like alicia keys as daisy
    and diddy as gatzby

    May 10, 2013 at 12:21 am | Report abuse |
    • Miss V in NYC

      Maybe that would really mix things up, even though they are both black entertainers. And I'm not sure what qualifies Alicia Keys as a good idea for the role since she isn't an actress.

      May 10, 2013 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
    • Gina from VA (aka, VA Gina)

      then again, Diddy has no acting experience either.

      May 10, 2013 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
    • Rita

      @Gina, Diddy did the TV verision of "A Raisin in the Sun" a few years ago; but his acting in that movie was lousy.

      May 10, 2013 at 6:51 pm | Report abuse |
  95. Nick

    My comments never get posted

    May 9, 2013 at 11:37 pm | Report abuse |
  96. Monty Python

    Looks like most boring movie, since, The English Patient or Lincoln. Thumbs down.

    May 9, 2013 at 10:23 pm | Report abuse |
  97. No reason too point out my comments we did this for a reason

    everyone know what we did.

    May 9, 2013 at 10:03 pm | Report abuse |
  98. thaddeus

    carey mulligan will be an improvement on mia farrow with the daisy buchanan character – its about time they made a splashy and over the top remake from the dull 1974 version.

    May 9, 2013 at 9:57 pm | Report abuse |
  99. mandy

    gatsby performance was poor.

    May 9, 2013 at 9:55 pm | Report abuse |
  100. max

    the trailer looks gaudy and amazing – just like the 20's the movie is trying to recreate plus a splasb of hyper edited storytelling, should make for a short lasting inspiration.

    May 9, 2013 at 9:49 pm | Report abuse |


    May 9, 2013 at 9:45 pm | Report abuse |
  102. Sokman

    Toby Maguire's voice is very irritating. I dont know if I could sit through a movie with him narrating throughout.

    May 9, 2013 at 8:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Teddy

      It will be nice to see Toby in the Spiderman costume again. That was my favorite part of the book, Spiderman fighting the Great Gatsby.

      May 9, 2013 at 9:42 pm | Report abuse |
  103. Babak from LA

    I will still go see it .... When I go to watch a movie (I see 2 a week with my son), I expect a movie not a life lesson. Let's grab some popped corn a soda may be a little candy and kick it a bit.....

    May 9, 2013 at 8:25 pm | Report abuse |
  104. Ahhh Sheit Midrauers

    Yayyyy! Lets celebrate infidelity!

    May 9, 2013 at 8:24 pm | Report abuse |
  105. Business As Usual

    Leo is consider 1 of the great actors of all time and i hope he wins another oscar or this..

    May 9, 2013 at 6:13 pm | Report abuse |
  106. voted: Useless...

    business as usual

    May 9, 2013 at 6:12 pm | Report abuse |
  107. Leo is one heck of an actor...

    the other 1 sucks.

    May 9, 2013 at 6:10 pm | Report abuse |
  108. sd

    Its a great book and i saw the movie the other night....amazing....i will see this over and over and over again.

    May 9, 2013 at 6:08 pm | Report abuse |
  109. Brandy

    well, I actually read the book and knew the movie (based on the trailers) wouldn't be good. too bad!

    May 9, 2013 at 6:05 pm | Report abuse |
  110. Interesting....

    check the blogs it was either a louie or dan who confessed last summer

    May 9, 2013 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
  111. Louie

    All frosting and no cake.

    May 9, 2013 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse |

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