‘The Great Gatsby’ Book to Movie: 5 Key Differences
'The Great Gatsby': The movie and the book (Warner Bros. / Scribner)
Needless to say, there are some significant changes. But there are significant changes in "Iron Man" when put up against the comic books -- sometimes change is necessary, and even good. Then again, sometimes they're not.
We've narrowed it down to five key differences between Baz Luhrmann's adaptation and the Fitzgerald text (other than that whole Jay-Z thing) so you can be mentally prepared, for better or for worse.
Nick Carraway is in a sanitarium.
While it's never abundantly clear that narrator Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire) is "writing" the book you're reading, he's certainly not writing it from a sanitarium. In the text, Fitzgerald merely alludes to Nick as the scribe -- within the first couple paragraphs, he describes Gatsby as "the man who gives his name to this book" -- but doesn't say so explicitly. In the film, Nick is writing from a sanitarium, where he's checked himself in sometime following his summer with Gatsby and has been diagnosed as a "morbid alcoholic," among other things.
Viewers are introduced to this concept in the very beginning and also see the point at which Nick begins to write the manuscript. Additionally, Luhrmann often flashes forward to Maguire to remind them that he's a writer. Of course, this isn't the first time the director has taken such a storytelling approach -- "Moulin Rouge" was also told from the perspective of a writer, and both films frequently show their would-be authors pecking away at a typewriter.
Lastly, one of the movie's final images is Nick adding "The Great" to the title of his finished "Gatsby" manuscript with a flourish. The book, however, leaves its reader only with the juicy final image of "So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past."
Nick and Jordan Baker were definitely a thing.
In the movie, prepare to see Nick and chic golfer Jordan Baker (Elizabeth Debicki) flirt but never actually hook up -- Nick's just too smitten with Gatsby to notice her. The novel, however, has them strike up a hot little fling.
"I put my arm around Jordan's golden shoulder and drew her toward me and asked her to dinner," Fitzgerald wrote following their tea date, later adding, "I drew up the girl beside me, tightening my arms. Her wan, scornful mouth smiled, and so I drew her up again closer, this time to my face."
Seeing as Nick then writes about getting home at 2 a.m., that seemed to have worked out pretty well for him.
DiCaprio and Maguire in 'The Great Gatsby' (Warner Bros.)
Jay Gatsby makes a grand entrance.
Actually, this is true of both the book and the film, but you can't exactly have Nick unknowingly interacting with Gatsby when he's played by Leonardo DiCaprio. The jig would be up.