News Column

China Exclusive: "The Great Gatsby" wins mixed response in China [China Economic Information Service (Xinhua)]

September 7, 2013


China Exclusive: "The Great Gatsby" wins mixed response in China

BEIJING, Sept. 7 (Xinhua) -- "The Great Gatsby", an American doomed love story which depicts the luxurious life of the upper class and individual struggle for better life, has received a mixed response since its debut in China.

The film, an adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel set in the Jazz Age of 1920s United States explores themes of decadence, idealism and excess.

The movie attracted more than 60,000 votes and was rated 7.7 out of 10 as of Saturday at, a major entertainment website in China, making it one of the best reviewed films among moviegoers in the past week.

The film ranked 6th in the box office charts in the week ending on Tuesday since its debut on Friday Aug. 30.

"I was encouraged by the film and will make greater efforts in order to live a better life," 27-year-old movie-goer surnamed Liu told Xinhua after watching the film in downtown Beijing.

The film, which was directed by Australian Baz Luhrmann, is described as a cautionary tale regarding the American Dream set in an era of loosening morals, glittering jazz and social upheaval.

America's Jazz Age boasted its economic prosperity with growing skyscrapers and the luxurious life of the rich, but ordinary young people were flocking to big cities to seek better opportunities in the hope of changing their fates.

However, some criticized the film's visuals and costumes.

"The film seemed to have used Hollywood's best dressed and best technology, but the content of the film did not show the breadth of the original novel," said Miao Youchen, a junior from Tsinghua University.

Miao added that the film looks more like a grand advertising film than a feature movie.

"Although there is some distance between the film and the original novel, undoubtedly, it's a watchable movie," said a microblogger "LilanCBN" on the popular Twitter-like Sina Weibo.

Chinese movie scholars and critics argue that some of the social problems that China is facing are similar to those that plagued the U.S. at that time.

Born in a poor family, the movie's Gatsby achieved his dream of being rich through his own struggle, but failed to attract Daisy Buchanan whom he deeply loved for many years.

"Gatsby's individual struggle for money and love, and Daisy's pursuit for material life and her apathy to Gatsby depicted a society which is somewhat similar to the current China," said Zhang Yiwu, a professor at Peking University and an active culture critic.

Zhang added that the film also revealed a universal value that young people can only achieve success by individual painstaking efforts.

Zhang Huijun, president of the Beijing Film Academy, said there are both realistic meaning and historical significance in such movies.

"From watching the movie, we should learn that due respect should be paid to ordinary people at the grassroots level in China's progress of urbanization," Zhang said.

A service of YellowBrix, Inc.

For more stories covering arts and entertainment, please see HispanicBusiness' Arts & Entertainment Channel

Story Tools Facebook Linkedin Twitter RSS Feed Email Alerts & Newsletters