The Goldfinch (2019)
Directed by John Crowley
Based on the novel The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
Screenplay by Peter Straughan
Starring: Oakes Fegley, Ansel Elgort, Nicole Kidman, Jeffrey Wright, Luke Wilson, Sarah Paulson, Finn Wolfhard
After his mother is killed, a young boy (Fegley/Elgort) is taken in by a wealthy family. He brings his own burdens and secrets into this new life.
This film is based on Donna Tartt’s 2013 novel of the same name. Peter Straughan (The Debt) adapted the novel for the big screen. This film was directed by John Crowley (Brooklyn). The cast of the film features some very talented people. Oakes Fegley (Wonderstruck) and Ansel Elgort (Baby Driver) play the younger and older versions of the central character in the film. The other stars include Nicole Kidman (Lion), Jeffrey Wright (Ride with the Devil), Luke Wilson (The Royal Tenenbaums), Sarah Paulson (Carol), and Finn Wolfhard (It).
This is a fascinating film, taking place on two separate timelines. The story is a desperate one, filled with disappointment and disaster for the characters involved. Somehow the screenplay manages to make a complex series of events and leave them feeling flat. It’s unclear what the stakes are for the central character, and the most energetic moments of the film seem out of place after the slow and deliberate pace of the rest of the film.
The actors in this one do great work with the weak material. The real standouts in this one are Oakes Fegley and Finn Wolfhard. It’s a shame that they only occupy a small amount of the almost two and a half hour movie. This isn’t to say that the other stars were not good, they just seemed to struggle to find the deeper emotional content in the script.
This is a movie that looks very good, thanks to the production team. The images are beautiful and the sounds are well done. The music in the film also adds an interesting layer to the experience. Unfortunately, the editing seems to have been poorly handled, leaving the film running at least 25 minutes too long. The length of the film is ultimately undeserved due to the convoluted script. For every moment that seems clear and powerful, there is a moment that seems out of place and shallow. I give this one a 3 out of 5 stars.