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Drama - Family

The Goldfinch (2019)


Duration 2h 29m Rating (UK) 15
Source of story A very long book of the same name by Donna Tartt
Director John Crowley
Writers/Script Peter Straughan
Starring Oakes Fegley, Ansel Elgort, Nicole Kidman, Jeffrey Wright, Luke Wilson, Sarah Paulson,

Elevator Pitch: When a terrorist bomb goes off in the Metripolitan Museum of  Art Theo Decker loses his mother but gains a passport into the world of antiques when given a ring by a dying man, and he recovers a small painting of a goldfinch which has been on display. Parentless he is taken in by a family of rich New Yorkers, but his ne’er-do-well father, solely interested in his inheritance because of gambling debts, turns up to take him back to Las Vegas. There Theo meets Boris a Russian boy and their lives are thereafter intertwined.

Content: There is no sex or nudity but a lot of drinking and drug taking much of the time by teenage boys.  Since the film starts with Theo in Amsterdam as an adult virtually the whole film is in flashback. But in chronological order we see the explosion in the museum and Theo getting away and being taken in by the posh family. He also goes to the antique shop and meets the remaining partner, the other having died in the explosion. He is taken by his father to Las Vegas and enjoys drugs and booze with Boris, but on the death of hs father, escapes back to New York and becomes resident in the antique shop.

A View: This film bombed at the box office and was disliked by most of the critics who felt that it had missed the essential wonderfulness of the book. The author won the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for it. Well,  I have read the book and now have been surprised to find that I am not alone in thinking that it is so pretentious it can hardly get over itself. So for me the truncated version on screen, which only briefly features each of the many segments of Theo’s life, was quite acceptable. Well filmed by Roger Deakins, so still worth a view for nothing.

Additional Info: The painting is in the Hague. It was signed and dated by the artisit Carel Fabritius in 1654 and may have been in his workshop when he was killed by an explosion in a gunpowder factory next door.

About Victor R Gibson

Author of this site three technical books and two novels


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