THE GOLDFINCH – A Review by Cynthia Flores
This new film from director John Crowley is amazing to look at. It was shot by the iconic cinematographer Roger Deakins. So you’ll be lost in the visuals and feel like you were there with thirteen-year-old Theodor Decker (Oakes Fegley) when he and his mother (Hailey Wist) are at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York on the day a bomb goes off near them. Killing his mother and putting Theo in such a confused state that in the rubble of the event, he steals a priceless piece of art known as The Goldfinch. It’s from the painter Carl Fabritius who died in 1654 in a famous gunpowder explosion that took half the city and most of his studio. The painting was pulled from the rubble back then just as it is in the film by Theo.
After the explosion, Theo is taken in by his nerdy school friend Andy Barbour’s (Ryan Foust) rich family. It’s Andy’s mother Samantha (Nicole Kidman) who is seemingly chilly but kind to the orphaned boy. She is the picture of a wealthy socialite married to Chance Barbour (Boyd Gaines) who also likes Theo and talks of the joys of sailing. Theo also befriends Hobie (Jeffrey Wright) and Pippa (Aimee Laurence) at the antique store that a dying man in the blast sends him to.
Theo isn’t allowed to stay with his friends and the new family he loves because his long-absent drunken father (Luke Wilson) appears with his loud trashy girlfriend named Xandra (Sarah Paulson) to collect his son and any money he might get his hands on. He takes Theo to Las Vegas where they live in a nice house surrounded by foreclosed homes out in the middle of the desert. The only saving grace to his new station in life is meeting Boris (Finn Wolfhard) a Ukrainian student. The character of Boris is a scene-stealer. When he first meets Theo, he takes the teenage boy under his wing during his time in Vegas. Theo due to circumstances once more throwing a wrench into his life runs away. He goes back to New York and Hobie at the antique store. Eight years later by chance, grown Boris (Aneurin Barnard) and Theo (Ansel Elgort) meet in a bar. This will be the night Theo finds out the truth about his beloved, hidden painting. Boris no matter his age is silly, outlandish, and loving to Theo whom he nicknames Potter after the wizard in the books. He is the person that ultimately helps Theo get a grip on his tragic life.
If you’re a fan of the book then you will really love this film. If you’re not then it will come across a little slower at times. The Goldfinch does not pay off enough in the end for our 2hr 29min investment. The ending actually felt rushed. The movie, however, pays off in spades with the look of Theo’s life and great performances by all. The stand out actors are the ones that did young Boris and Theo. We all know that Ansel Elgort can act but this film lets the world know that the two teen actors Finn Wolfhard and Oakes Fegley are the new powerhouse stars to watch out for.
I give The Goldfinch a B+ rating, it definitively starts off the list of dramas running towards awards season.
Directed by John Crowley
Written by Peter Straughan, based on the novel by Donna Tartt
Selig Rating B+
Running Time 2hr 29min
Wide Release September 13th
Starring: Ansel Elgort, Oakes Fegley, Finn Wolfhard, Nicole Kidman, Sarah Paulson, Willa Fitzgerald, Jeffrey Wright, Boyd Gaines, Aimee Laurence, Luke Wilson
The Selig Rating Scale:
A – Excellent movie, well worth the price.
B – Good movie
C – OK movie
D – No need to rush. Save it for a rainy day.
F – Good that I saw it on the big screen but wish I hadn’t paid for it.