Who was Leonardo DiCaprio’s character in The Great Gatsby? The Meaning of The Film, Plot Summary, Similar Films
Genre: drama, melodrama, adaptation
Year of production: 2013
Directed by: Baz Luhrmann
Actors: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, Carey Mulligan
tagline: “Can’t bring back the past? Well, of course you can!”
Awards and nominations: In 2014, the film won two Oscars for Best Costumes and Best Production Design.
The film by Baz Luhrmann, based on the novel of the same name by F.S. Fitzgerald, tells about the collapse of an entire idea, as well as the personal drama of a man who tried to combine his illusory dreams with “carnival” reality.
The point of The Great Gatsby is how difficult it is to be human in a fake world. However, this picture can also be viewed from a different angle – as a beautiful, sad love story.
Frame from the film.
What is the movie about?
Brief description of the content of the film “The Great Gatsby”. The plot revolves around a young man named Nick Carraway, who comes from a wealthy family.
Nick graduated from Yale University, and then went to the front to participate in the First World War. Seven years later, he took a job in New York, and rented a house in the suburbs, in West Egg. From time to time, Nick sees his second cousin Daisy, who lives with her husband in a more elite area. Daisy’s husband Tom, a rich man and womanizer, often cheats on her. The girl knows about it and suffers greatly. She dreams of running away from him, but does not yet imagine how this can be done.
The role of Jay Gatsby was played by Leonardo DiCaprio. Frame from the film.
Not far from Carraway lives the famous millionaire Gatsby. Every evening he invites friends to his villa and has a great time. After some time, Nick is also invited to the party. Arriving at Gatsby’s house, he meets him by chance and learns that they served in the same regiment. Friendships develop between young people. Some time later, the millionaire asks a friend to invite Daisy to his place for tea – they say, and then he would also come to him in a neighborly way.
From his girlfriend, Nick learns that Daisy once dated Gatsby, but they broke up, and then she married Tom. He guesses that they are trying to make him a pimp, but, in principle, he has nothing against it.
Then the meeting of Daisy and Gatsby did not take place, but later they met anyway at one of his parties. After that, the girl began to visit him more and more often, and Gatsby met Tom, who was very interested in where he got the money from.
One day, Gatsby invites Nick, Tom, Jordan and Daisy to New York. On the way, Tom learns that the husband of his mistress knows about their affair, and, seeing perfectly the sympathy of Daisy and Gatsby, he realizes that he can lose both women. This infuriates him.
Tobey Maguire played the role of Nick Carraway. Frame from the film.
Soon Gatsby and Tom begin to openly compete for Daisy’s heart. In the heat of a quarrel, Tom reveals the source of the millionaire’s income. Turns out he’s a big bootlegger. Daisy hears this conversation and decides to stay with Tom. A little later, Tom’s mistress dies on the road – she is hit by a car belonging to Gatsby, and Daisy is driving at that moment.
Later, Nick learns from Gatsby the whole story of his relationship with Daisy. His real name is James Goetz. He is a farmer’s son and Gatsby is his alter ego. From his youth, he dreamed of getting into high society and succeeding.
Once he met a famous millionaire, and, working for him, made a good career. He was supposed to become the heir, but due to legal delays, he never received the money. However, he got a good experience and finally merged with Gatsby, invented in his youth. It was at this point in his life that Daisy met.
He was constantly haunted by the fear that someone would see in him an ordinary person without family and tribe – and without a penny in his pocket. He did not think about a serious relationship with the girl, because he knew that he was no match for her. However, he managed to sincerely become attached to her. Having studied the character of his beloved, he realized that he could win her only with wealth.
After returning from the army, he went to Oxford, where he was able to receive a free education. There he received a letter from Daisy, in which she said that she could no longer wait for him: at that moment, Tom appeared in her life …
After talking with Gatsby, Nick was imbued with him even more sympathy. As he left, he remarked that his empty surroundings weren’t worth it.
The Great Gatsby Ending explanation
At the end of the film, the husband of Tom’s deceased mistress comes to the villa. Confident that Gatsby is guilty of her death, he mortally wounds him, and then shoots himself in the temple.
In the finale, only three people came to Gatsby’s funeral – his father, Nick, and one of those who were constantly present at parties. Nick tries to contact Daisy, but finds out that he and Tom have left. They didn’t leave an address…
In their analysis, viewers offer the following explanation for the ending: an empty life ended in nothing. Gatsby has been a phantom all his life and has been trying to win back Daisy’s ghostly love. All his dreams were shattered, and even his death was “fake” – he died as a result of a tragic misunderstanding.
The point of the ending of The Great Gatsby (as well as the essence of the film) is this: you should not chase the past if you are not sure that it will accept you.
The meaning of the film
You can understand the meaning (including the hidden meaning) of The Great Gatsby if you look closely at the original novel. Its author, Francis Scott Fitzgerald, has gone down in history as the “chronicler of the Jazz Age,” that is, the period of American history from the end of World War I to the Great American Depression.
After the end of the war in America, a period of economic prosperity, industrialization began, and the life of ordinary Americans changed dramatically. The “roaring twenties” came – the years of material prosperity and spiritual decline. People sincerely believed that only material well-being would allow them to be happy. Therefore, greed and money have become the main component of the so-called “American dream”.
The American dream is the desire for success, for material well-being, the ascent from the social lower classes, poverty, to recognition and wealth. Describing this time, the writer focused on the thirst for pleasure that swept the whole country. However, Fitzgerald was not going to sing the reality in which he had to live. On the contrary, he sought to show the destructive nature of the “American Dream”.
Frame from the film.
The novel The Great Gatsby speaks of her crisis. After its publication, the meaning of this expression became different – more tragic, and even ominous. This is not so much a dream as a destructive illusion that makes a person break down.
The main idea of The Great Gatsby is not in the drama of a specific hero, but in the collapse of an idea that people were passionately in love with. The book and film show us a period of mass fascination with the “carnival lifestyle”.
So, Jay Gatsby, the son of a poor farmer, falls in love with a girl from high society. Seeking her favor, he resorts to all sorts of tricks. He believes that the attention of a girl who has already become the wife of another can be attracted by wealth. However, it turns out that no one needs him, with his love and desire for a dream. His luxurious parties, which he throws to attract the attention of Daisy, people need – like his money. He himself is of no interest to anyone.
In all interpretations of the work of Gatsby himself can not be called a positive character. However, this is a tragic image and a very extraordinary person, torn between belief in two myths – in wealth and personal happiness.
According to the audience, the key to the image of Gatsby should be sought in the personality of the writer himself. After the war, Fitzgerald met a girl named Zelda, and their relationship was as empty, carnival-like as Mr. Gatsby and Daisy’s.
Carey Mulligan, Joel Edgerton played the roles of Daisy and Tom Buchanan. Frame from the film.
Why is Gatsby great?
First of all, it’s supposedly big. In fact, this is a rich man who arranges absurd magnificent festivities. However, all his greatness and significance are phantoms, the same as himself. After all, Jay Gatsby does not exist – there is only the boy James Goetz, the son of a farmer. That is, the phrase “The Great Gatsby” is a sad irony.
And yet, the hero is great for his strength, sincerity and genuineness of his feelings, his desire for a dream. He has a big soul – because it is thanks to him that the narrator Nick Carraway develops and changes.
The image of New York, which is a kind of sinister space, seems very interesting. Passing by on a train, Nick suddenly realizes that the great city is essentially a beautiful, but featureless dump, which is not looked at by God, but by an old advertising sign depicting an optometrist with huge empty eyes. To what future are these eyes fixed? Does it exist at all?
In the novel (as well as in the film), special attention is paid to the green light of the lantern, which symbolized for Gatsby “future happiness”. However, there is another interpretation of this light. In world folklore, wandering (demonic) lights are harbingers of death, or secret treasures. In the book, the green light, rather, symbolizes the protagonist’s false goal. In addition, green is the color of dollars (Gatsby got money with dark deeds) and a harbinger of tragedy.
Frame from the film.
Here are a few paintings similar in meaning to Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby:
- “The Wolf of Wall Street” (USA, 2013). The film tells the story of Jordan Belfort getting rich;
- “Aviator” (USA, Germany, 2004). Howard Hughes is a billionaire. But more than anything else, he loves the sky – because it is there that he feels true freedom;
- “Citizen Kane” (USA, 1941). The life story of “newspaper magnate” Charles Foster Kane.