Australian Council on Children and the Media

Great Gatsby, The

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Not recommended under 15 (Adult themes and violence)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Great Gatsby, The
  • a review of Great Gatsby, The completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 23 May 2013.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under the age of 15 Not recommended

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Great Gatsby, The
Classification: M
Consumer advice lines: Mature themes and violence
Length 142 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Based on the classic novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald, the Great Gatsby is set during the roaring twenties in New York. Nick Carraway (Toby Maguire) is a young banker from the mid-west who has recently moved to New York. He is intrigued by his mysterious neighbour, Jay Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio), who lives in a lavish mansion overlooking the lake between Long Island and central New York. Nick is gradually drawn into Gatsby’s world, where drinking too much and outrageous parties are all part of a dazzling and extravagant lifestyle.

Nick soon learns that Gatsby’s interest in him lies with his cousin Daisy Buchanan (Carey Mulligan) whom Gatsby fell in love with before the Great War, but she is now married to Tom Buchanan (Joel Edgerton). Gatsby, originally from a poor home, sets out to make his millions on his return from the war in order to win Daisy’s heart back. His obsession with her however, ultimately leads to madness and tragedy.

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Obsessive love, adultery and addiction.

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is some violence in this movie including:

  • Buchanan hits Myrtle hard around the head during an argument.
  • A partygoer is thrown out of the party and beaten up.
  • Gatsby attacks Tom while having a fierce argument over Daisy.
  • George Wilson (Jason Clarke) beats Myrtle up quite badly.
  • Myrtle then runs out of the house on to the road and is killed by a car.
  • Buchanan fights with Wilson.
  • Wilson shoots Gatsby and then shoots himself by putting the gun in his mouth.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

Not suitable for this age group

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

Not suitable for this age group

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Not suitable for this age group

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

There are some scenes that are likely to disturb childrenup to the age of 15, including:

  • alcohol-fuelled parties that depict manic behaviour
  • several fast car races where cars are driven recklessly and dangerously
  • Myrtle is shown dead and bleeding on the ground Gatsby is shown at the end of movie floating dead in the water

Product placement

None of concern

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • Tom takes Nick to a party, which turns out to be an orgy; girls start stripping off their clothes and drinking out of wine bottles.

Nudity and sexual activity

There is no nudity but some discreet sexual activity in this movie, including:

  • Nick Carraway sits in the lounge having to listen to Tom and Myrtle having sex in the room next door
  • It is implied that Nick has sex with one of the girls at the party.
  • Gatsby and Daisy have sex

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including:

  • Much excessive drinking
  • Nick ends up as a depressive alcoholic in a treatment program
  • One of the girls at a party pops a pill before kissing Nick

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • Goddamn

In a nutshell

The Great Gatsby is a highly dramatic film produced with the usual glitz and glamour of a Baz Luhrmann film. The story, based on a classic novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald, is best suited to those over 15 years because of intense adult themes and violence.

The main message from this movie is that an unhealthy obsession will often lead to tragedy.

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • The ability to overcome poverty and hardship.

This movie could give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences, such as.

  • Drinking to excess could lead to alcoholism
  • Making a fortune illegally can end in trouble

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