By Paget Hines

Many students are currently reading one of the most ACCLAIMED novels of all time: The Great Gatsby. F. Scott Fitzgerald’s legendary portrait of the EXTRAVAGANCE of the LIBERTINE 1920s is a staple of high school English classes.

Many students find that watching the movie provides a deeper understanding of the book. Director Baz Luhrmann’s AUDACIOUS version , starring Leonardo DiCaprio as Jay Gatsby, the ENIGMATIC millionaire, and Carey Mulligan as Daisy Buchanan, the object of his obsession and the CATALYST of his quest for material wealth is available to stream online. Luhrmann has a PENCHANT for stunning spectacle in all of his movies, and his version of The Great Gatsby is no exception. With a star-studded soundtrack, ORNATE costumes and sets, and 3D cinematography, Luhrmann creates a striking EVOCATION of New York at the ZENITH of the Roaring ‘20s.

One of Luhrmann’s most compelling and controversial choices in this latest adaptation is his use of ANACHRONISTIC music. The soundtrack includes contributions from an ECLECTIC assortment of popular artists, from hip hop and dance stars like Jay-Z, Beyoncé, André 3000,, and Fergie to indie darlings like Gotye, Jack White, Lana Del Rey, Sia, and Florence + The Machine. The soundtrack’s MELODRAMATIC slow songs invoke a sense of Gatsby’s almost WISTFUL yearning to recapture the past. While the soundtrack is INDISPUTABLY contemporary, it often JUXTAPOSES the 1920s with the 2000s. The music of The Great Gatsby’s soundtrack works with the dazzling cinematography to overwhelm the movie audience with the OPULENCE and HEDONISTIC excesses of the Jazz Age.

This film adaptation will bring to life Fitzgerald’s SCINTILLATING novel. When watching a film production of a classic novel, it’s useful to view it with a critical eye. Come to your own conclusions about the APTNESS of the casting, the deviations from the novel, and the ultimate success or failure of this translation of the ICONIC novel to the screen.

Engaging and entertaining for students.


EXTRAVAGANT—excessive, lacking restraint

LIBERTINE—dissolute, free from moral restraints



CATALYST—cause of change


ORNATE—elaborate and expensive

EVOCATION—imaginative re-creation of something


ANACHRONISTIC—false assignment of something to a time when it did not exist

ECLECTIC—using a variety of sources

MELODRAMATIC—overly dramatic

WISTFUL—showing longing tinged with melancholy


JUXTAPOSES—places side by side


HEDONISTIC—devoted to the pursuit of pleasure

SCINTILLATING—brilliant, sparkling


ICONIC—venerated as an object of attention and devotion

APPOSITE—relevant, pertinent


Paget Hines is the author of Direct Hits Essential VocabularyDirect Hits2016; Direct Hits Core Vocabulary, 6th Edition, Direct Hits 2016; and Direct Hits Advance Vocabulary, 6th Edition, Direct Hits 2016

Paget is a Learning Specialist and the Director of Direct Hits Education. She has worked with students with a diverse range of learning profiles.


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