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Critics Aren’t Dazzled By ‘Gatsby’: A Recap of the Reviews So Far

Critics Aren't Dazzled By 'Gatsby': A Recap of the Reviews So Far

A handful of reviews are in for “The Great Gatsby,” which opens in just a few days on May 10 and kicks off the Cannes Film Festival on May 15. Pushed back six months from its original December release, Baz Luhrmann’s glimmering 3D adaptation of the classic F. Scott Fitzgerald novel has garnered as much anticipation as skepticism: will the auteur’s flashy style compliment or complicate? So far (from what we can gauge) only one critic has praised Luhrmann while the others contend that maybe there is such a thing as too much spectacle. 

Check out what some critics have to say below.

Todd McCarthy, Hollywood Reporter: “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.”

Scott Foundas, Variety: “To accuse Luhrmann of overkill is a bit like faulting a leopard for his spots. Love it or hate it, take it or leave it, this is unmistakably his “Gatsby” through and through, and as with all such carte-blanche extravaganzas, it exudes an undeniable fascination — at least for a while.”

David Denby, The New Yorker: “Luhrmann’s vulgarity is designed to win over the young audience, and it suggests that he’s less a filmmaker than a music-video director with endless resources and a stunning absence of taste.”

Alonso Duralde, The Wrap: “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.”

Anne Thompson, Thompson On Hollywood: “‘The Great Gatsby’ is a guilty pleasure, a swirling, audacious piece of cinema –in 3-D!–that could prove a crowdpleaser for young audiences.”

Rodrigo Perez, The Playlist: “The expressive ‘Gatsby’ has the power to transport, but the main problem is that it never lifts the audience to anywhere of significance other than the clouds where the party fireworks have already evaporated.”

Drew McWeeny, HitFix: “It’s as if every bit of creativity dried up the moment the deal was signed. Yes, this is exactly what I would expect a Baz Luhrmann ‘Gatsby’ would look like, but is that enough?”

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Fr. Dennis Kriz , OSM

I wonder why so many critics have made fun of Luhrman's approach in this film. After all, Fitzgerald's novel was about the JAZZ AGE and its repudiation for better or worse of previous Victorian arrogance. Gatsby as one who was super rich but alas nouveau riche threw those opulent parties even in the novel because it was the only way that he could have eventually attracted the old moneyed Daisy. I find the complaints about Luhrman's style actually somewhat similar. What was he supposed to do? Make the film in the style of "Downton Abbey?" That was already done by Francis Ford Copolla in 1974 …

Curtis Caesar John

There already was a 'Black' movie version of 'The Great Gatsby' and it was simply called 'G' and starred Blair Underwood and Richard T. Jones.


Now the strategy is to say, "If you don't like it," you're OLD. I say, if you dew like it,
you're just DUM.

The Bard

"It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing."

Salvador Litvak

If the film did not piss off a few critics, I'd be disappointed in Baz. I can't wait to see this film.


…..and then there's Mo Dowd in the NYT, saying it's time for a "black" Gatsby and that JZ is the one. That One… as McCain might say. Bitter and old, is the critic, that hates this Gatsby remake. I'm sure Baz is as faithful to F. Scott, as JZ is to Bey. It's a pretty cool, insightful story, that may speak volumes about our times. Let Baz and JZ tell it. F**k Denby


I think he does his best work with an actress that believes in him. Example, Nicole Kidman. Brilliant in Moulin Rouge, Good in Australia. In my opinion anyway, I know a lot of detractors will disagree and place their opionion as if it's fact


If a filmmaker's going to be bold and over-the-top, they should be at least be unpredictable. Sadly, that's not the case here.

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