Critic Reviews

55

Metascore

Based on 45 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
88
Amidst all the fireworks and the cascading champagne and the insanely over-the-top parties, we're reminded again and again that The Great Gatsby is about a man who spends half a decade constructing an elaborate monument to the woman of his dreams.
75
San Francisco Chronicle
The good news about Baz Luhrmann's adaptation of the Fitzgerald masterpiece is that he doesn't use the novel as a mere pretext for his own visual invention, but genuinely tries to capture the Fitzgeraldian spirit, and for the most part, despite some vulgar lapses, he succeeds.
70
No matter how frenzied and elaborate and sometimes distracting his technique may be, Luhrmann's personal connection and commitment to the material remains palpable, which makes for a film that, most of the time, feels vibrantly alive while remaining quite faithful to the spirit, if not the letter or the tone, of its source.
67
It's a dazzling time capsule of a shimmering era and a devastating look into the dark side of the American dream. Too bad Luhrmann, the caffeinated conductor, doesn't trust that story enough. He'd rather blast your retinas into sugar-shock submission. Uncle, old sport! Uncle!
58
In the end, his (Luhrmann) Gatsby takes the fitting form of a cocktail glass, at once undeniably polished and unfailingly empty.
50
When Luhrmann finally reveals the title character, he does so as assorted partygoers work themselves into a frenzy, Rhapsody in Blue pounds on the soundtrack and fireworks explode in the sky...Unfortunately, the film is never again as successful; from here on, it has to dig into the bothersome business of telling Fitzgerald's story.
50
There are so many things wrong with Luhrmann's Great Gatsby - the filmmaker's attention-deficit-disorder approach, the anachronistic convergence of hip-hop and swing, the choppy elision of Fitzgerald's plot, the jarring collision of Jazz Age cool and Millennial cluelessness. But at the crux of things, the problem is that it's impossible to care.
50
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.
40
Luhrmann piles on one shiny distraction after another. But amid all the seductively gaudy excess, DiCaprio finds both the heart and hurt buried within one of literature's everlasting enigmas.
30
What's intractably wrong with the film is that there's no reality to heighten; it's a spectacle in search of a soul.
25
There may be worse movies this summer than The Great Gatsby, but there won't be a more crushing disappointment.

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