Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes
Maguire's otherworldly coolness suits the observer drawn into a story he might prefer only to watch. DiCaprio is persuasive as the little boy lost impersonating a tough guy, and Mulligan finds ways to express Daisy's magnetism and weakness.
It is, as I suspected, a gargantuan hunk of over-art-directed kitsch, but it makes for a grandiose, colorful, pleasure-drenched night at the movies.
New York 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.
New York Observer:
I love the publicity quotes by Baz Luhrmann stating that his intention was to make an epic romantic vision that is enormous. Also: overwrought, asinine, exaggerated and boring. But in the end, about as romantic as a pet rock.
Wall Street Journal:
This dreadful film even derogates the artistry of Fitzgerald, who wrote "The Great Gatsby" while living on Long Island and in Europe.
Where this "Gatsby" fails, it at least does so with imaginative and verve; where it succeeds, it finds poetry.
What Luhrmann grasps even less than previous adapters of the tale is that Fitzgerald was, via his surrogate Carraway, offering an eyewitness account of the decline of the American empire, not an invitation to the ball.
A half-reverent, half-travestying adaptation that's campy but not a betrayal, offering a lively take on a familiar work while sacrificing such niceties as structure, character, and nuance.
DiCaprio has aged into roles like this with a certain grace. He carries himself with the self-confidence Gatsby would, but also manages the shade of doubt, that it's all false bravado.
Leonardo DiCaprio gives us the full Gatsby, assured yet insecure, and he's magnificent, but the movie ends up romanticizing what Fitzgerald spent the book de-romanticizing.
J. R. Jones,
Baz Luhrmann is exactly the wrong person to adapt such a delicately rendered story, and his 3D feature plays like a ghastly Roaring 20s blowout at a sorority house.
There's always something to watch. But the actors' efforts to get something going the old-fashioned way - by interacting with each other, in the service of the characters - get shoved to the sidelines, in favor of one more blast of glitter.
There are no two ways about it: The Great Gatsby is misconceived and misjudged, a crude burlesque on what's probably American literature's most precious jewel.
Christian Science Monitor:
Fitzgerald's sensibility is delicately nuanced, but there's steel in his melancholy. With Luhrmann, everything, not just the parties but the intimate scenes, turns into Mardi Gras.
Dallas Morning News:
Luhrmann hasn't unlocked the secrets of a story that remains all but unfilmable, but his Gatsby is far more than a collection of superficial splashes and tics.
Even while being admirably faithful to so much of the novel's language, Luhrmann and Pearce still can't quite maneuver Carraway's more cautionary contours about America.
"The Great Gatsby" is a cool movie, in both the positive and negative sense. You may certainly be impressed, but you may not be moved.
Fort Worth Star-Telegram/DFW.com:
The perfectionist Luhrmann ... captures the exterior excesses of Gatsby's life but overlooks the interior torment that fuels them. Without the latter, Gatsby is less a film and more of a salute to production design.
And so we wait, wait for the parties to end, wait for sparks to fly, for tragedy to strike, for repercussions to ensue, for our persistently passive protagonist to simply shut up already.
For all the antic, manic itchiness of his Gatsby, for all the jazz hands, the movie doesn't reach out and grab you.
The cast is first-rate, the ambiance and story provide a measure of intoxication and, most importantly, the core thematic concerns pertaining to the American dream, self-reinvention and love lost, regained and lost again are tenaciously addressed.
Los Angeles Times:
On paper "Gatsby" sounds like quite the film. On screen, though, things start to fall apart.
The New Republic:
It's stupefying, it's vulgar, it's demeaning-it's dull and there's nothing like the dullness that is trying to be a sensation.
The fourth adaptation of the Fitzgerald novel scores some hits and wild misses, but DiCaprio nails the bull's-eye.
Fitzgerald's illusions were not very different from Gatsby's, but his illusionless book resists destruction even from the most aggressive and powerful despoilers.
The real star of any Baz Luhrmann film must be Baz Luhrmann. And he wears out his welcome very early.
Luhrmann takes great care with the rhythms of individual scenes, yet the film as a whole plays like a long trudge through a familiar story.
New York Daily News:
The themes are spelled out with all the refinement of Cliffs Notes. The CGI gimmicks add nothing relevant (skip the 3-D ticket). And few of the actors seem at all comfortable amid the decadence.
New York Post:
A movie that may not be truly great but certainly stands out like a beacon in a sea of silly blockbusters.
Orange County Register:
Baz Luhrmann's razzmatazz and bombast -- in 3D! -- overwhelm the subtle poetry of F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel.
There have been other stabs at Fitzgerald's book ... But none can be deemed as audaciously miscalculated as this.
As unlikely as it might seem, high-energy director Baz Luhrmann has in fact crafted a somnambulant motion picture.
Matt Zoller Seitz,
Even when the movie's not working, its style fascinates. That "not working" part is a deal breaker, though ...
There may be worse movies this summer than The Great Gatsby, but there won't be a more crushing disappointment.
It surely belongs to the category of baroque, overblown, megalomaniacal spectacles dubbed "film follies" by longtime Nation film critic Stuart Klawans.
Minneapolis Star Tribune:
Although the incurably exuberant Baz Luhrmann had the glitter factories and sequin mines working overtime, his glitzed-up "Gatsby" is dishwater dull.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
Old dogs who don't believe in new tricks can howl about sacrilege, but for those attuned to the movie, "The Great Gatsby" is the cat's meow.
The central problem with Luhrmann's film is that when it's entertaining it's not Gatsby, and when it's Gatsby it's not entertaining.
Globe and Mail:
It's a terrific adaptation that succeeds not only as a work of cinema but also, wonderfully, as proof of the novel's greatness.
We're ... reminded of what this movie could have been, had not Luhrmann hit the autopilot switch and allowed Fitzgerald to do all the dramatic thinking for him.
This film marks the official moment in which Baz Luhrmann's signature style has become self-parody. So we beat on, boats against the current, jumping the shark.
The anachronistic pop-music cues, digitally augmented tracking shots and disco-globe-glittery production design don't re-create the headiness of early-20th-century New York so much as invent a billowy fantasy otherworld in the gauzy vein of Twilight.
Frenzied and overwrought, Baz Luhrmann'sThe Great Gatsby is a glitz-filled folly.
[Luhrmann's] "Great Gatsby" is all about the glitter but it has no soul - and the fact that he's directed it in 3-D only magnifies the feeling of artificiality.
It seldom, if ever, captures that fierce delicacy of feeling Fitzgerald packed into every sentence. And it's not an actors' movie.
New York Magazine/Vulture:
The best thing about Baz Luhrmann's much-anticipated/much-dreaded The Great Gatsby is that, for all its computer-generated whoosh and overbroad acting, it is unmistakably F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby. That is no small deal.
Despite timely relevance, enduring truths and Luhrmann's earnest efforts to make The Great Gatsby jump off the screen, he -- and we -- finally can't help but fail to grasp it.