Week 1- Narrative/Storytelling.

The Great Gatsby

Title: The Great Gatsby
Writers: Baz Luhrmann & Craig Pearce
Director: Baz Luhrmann
Major Actors: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, Carey Mulligan, and Joel Edgerton
Year Released: 2013

This film is based on the novel written by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Plot & Story:

Nick Carraway (Toby Maguire) is in a sanitarium for depression and alcoholism. His doctor tells Nick to recall what put him in that situation and write about it. Nick takes it back to seven years prior to being landed in a sanitarium, when he moved to a tiny house next to the myseterious millionaire Jay Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio) on Long Island in the village of West Egg. Nick is invited to one of Gatsby’s parties and from there he takes a liking to Gatsby. Daisy (Carey Mulligan) is Nick’s cousin and her husband Tom Buchanan (Joel Edgerton) knows Nick from Yale. Daisy’s husband Tom is cheating on her with a woman named Myrtle from the “valley of ashes” where she lives with her husband George who owns a garage. Tom and Daisy live across the water from Nick and Gatsby. Gatsby throws these parties in hopes that one day Daisy would attend, as he is still very much in love with her from their previous relationship. After Nick attends Gatsby’s extravagant party, Gatsby asks Nick to invite Daisy to Nick’s house for tea. When Daisy arrives for tea at Nick’s house, she is surprised to see Gatsby but soon they find themselves having an affair. Trying to keep their affair a secret, Gatsby gets rid of most of servants and discontinues the parties. Daisy wants to run away from New York with him but Gatsby wants them to live a life together in his mansion. When Daisy plans to tell her husband Tom that she wants to leave him, things go horribly wrong. A fight breaks out at the Plaza when Gatsby tells Tom that Daisy doesn’t want to be him and that they have been having an affair. Tom calls out Gatsby on the way he has made his fortune, and Gatsby lashes out at Tom which frightens Daisy. Tom says he will take better care of Daisy, but Daisy reminds him of his faults in their marriage. Meanwhile, Myrtle (Tom’s mistress) had just gotten into a fight with her husband. She runs out and sees a yellow car thinking that is is Tom coming to get her where she gets struck by the car and dies immediately. When they all gathered at the garage, Tom tells Myrtle’s husband that Gatsby was the owner of that car and blames Gatsby for having an affair with Myrtle (to hide the fact that he himself was having the affair). Later, Nick finds Gatsby outside of Buchanan’s mansion where he revealed that Daisy was the one driving but he will take the blame anyway. Gatsby is sure that Daisy will call him the next day and here he reveals his identity to Nick. When Gatsby asks Nick to check up on Daisy, he overhears her conversation with Tom and though he is disappointed, he does not tell Gatsby because he knows his friend is anticipating that call from Daisy. The next day Gatsby decides to go for a swim, when the phone rings and the butler answers, Gatsby is convinced it is Daisy on the line. As Gatsby is getting out of the pool, he is shot by George, who then kills himself afterwards. When Nick calls Daisy to attend the funeral, he learns that she is leaving New York with Tom and their daughter. It is only Nick and the media who were at the funeral, where the media accused Gatsby of being Myrtles’s lover and killer. As Nick finishes his memoir back in the sanitarium, he initially titled it “Gatsby” then retitles it with “The Great Gatsby”.

This film takes a nonlinear and chronological approach as it shows Nick recounting his past as he reflects through writing suggested by his doctor. Chronological order means that the events are shown in the order they happened, and nonlinear order tells a story out of chronological order, jumping back and forth (Goodykoontz & Jacobs, 2014). The use of both nonlinear and chronological orders in this film helped to capture the audience. It starts off with Nick writing about his past as suggested by his doctor and then flashes back to the events that took place in 1922. The use of this helps the audience to truly understand Nick’s character and to discover the Great Gatsby. As Nick tells the story of his past, the audience learns more about the people he encountered in West Egg. I think the way the director presented this film was very effective in getting the audience engaged. Had the director used a different way of presenting this film, I believe the impact on the audience would have been weakened.


Goodykoontz, B., & Jacobs, C. P. (2014). Film: From watching to seeing (2nd ed.). San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education, Inc. This text is a Constellation™ course digital materials (CDM) title.

NA22011. (2013, August 23). The Great Gatsby 2013 Scene – Gatsby Death . Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WfNE-pTRTH8

The Great Gatsby. (2013). [Online image] Retrieved October 9th, 2014 from http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1343092/?ref_=ttpl_pl_tt


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