Global  

Celebrating 10 Years of Trusted News Discovery
One News Page
> >

‘The Goldfinch’ Film Review: Movie Adaptation Grapples With Big Book, Comes Up Short

The Wrap Wednesday, 11 September 2019 ()
‘The Goldfinch’ Film Review: Movie Adaptation Grapples With Big Book, Comes Up ShortIt’s hard to imagine that there could be a better-looking movie at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival than John Crowley’s adaptation of Donna Tartt’s bestselling novel “The Goldfinch.” And that makes the many areas in which the film falls short all the more frustrating.

A high-toned adaptation of the novel from Crowley, the Irish director responsible for the Oscar Best Picture nominee “Brooklyn,” “The Goldfinch” is less straightforward than the novel, jumping back and forth in time, but it also feels far more conventional. Where Crowley’s previous film was an understated gem that captured the gentle poetry of Colm Toibin’s novel, his new one is bigger, bolder and more earthbound.

The bigness and boldness are of necessity. “The Goldfinch,” which had its world premiere this week at the Toronto International Film Festival, is a coming-of-age story of a young boy whose mother is killed in a terrorist explosion in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, but it’s also a love story and an examination of a guilt and a heist and a testament to the power of art.

*Also Read:* A Majestic 'Joker' Drags the Oscar Race Into the Darkness in Toronto Premiere

You can cover that in 784 pages, maybe, but it’s a lot to handle even in the film’s 2 hour and 29 minute running time, which begins to feel exhausting well before it ends.

When we first meet our protagonist, Theo Decker, he’s played by Ansel Elgort as a smooth operator who looks immaculate in his bespoke suits but is clearly carrying a whole lot of trouble on the inside.

Theo is at a point of despair – and as he meticulously prepares to take his own life, the film jumps back to the beginning of the novel to show him as a young teen (played by Oakes Fegley). The death of Theo’s mother pushes him deep into his shell, until a ring given to him by a man who died in the explosion leads him to an antique store where he meets “Hobie” Hobart (Jeffrey Wright) and, crucially, a young girl who also survived the explosion.

*Also Read:* Letter From Toronto: Noah Baumbach's 'Marriage Story' and Julie Delpy's 'My Zoe' Offer a Split View of Divorce

We start to watch the two wounded children bond, and then we’re suddenly back to the grown Theo again – and at this point, the time jumps seem designed more to get Elgort onscreen again than to serve any real dramatic point, because we’re soon back with Fegley for a long stretch.

Theo is an intriguing character, a man crippled by guilt and by secrets he can’t reveal. And the soundtrack is almost as intriguing as the character, mixing the slow movement of Beethoven’s fifth piano concerto with New Order’s “Your Silent Face,” Bill Evans’ “Blue Monk,” Radiohead’s “Everything in its Right Place” and Them’s version of “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue.”

Best of all is the remarkable cinematography by a true master, Roger Deakins. From the warm and lustrous look of a high-end antique store to the perfectly luminous sheen in a swanky home to the stark, hard glare of a deserted housing development outside Vegas, Deakins makes the movie look so good you can sometimes ignore its shortcomings.

*Also Read:* 'Jojo Rabbit' Film Review: Taika Waititi Insists That Nazis Can Be Funny

But only sometimes. The film grows more florid and dramatic as it unfolds, and more disjointed; even with reliable actors like Elgort, Wright, Nicole Kidman, Sarah Paulson, and Luke Wilson on hand, the storytelling feels clunky in a way “Brooklyn” never did.

For Theo, the Carel Fabritius painting that gives the film its name represents the permanence of art, the possibility of beauty surviving in an ugly world and, in a way, the possibility of some kind of redemption in the aftermath of horrible tragedy. But not all art survives in the same way. “The Goldfinch,” the novel, was a testament to the power of “The Goldfinch,” the painting – but “The Goldfinch,” the movie, can’t be more than a footnote to the mysteries and the grace of the works that inspired it.

*Related stories from TheWrap:*

The Scene at Power Women Toronto 2019: Ellen Page, Kasi Lemmons and More (Photos)

5 Best Picture Oscar Winners That Launched at the Toronto Film Festival (Photos)

36 Most Anticipated Movies of Fall 2019, From 'It Chapter Two' to 'Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker' (Photos)
0
shares
ShareTweetSavePostSend
 
Credit: TODAY’S TMJ4 - Published < > Embed
News video: Ryan Jay Reviews

Ryan Jay Reviews "Hustlers" 04:26

Thinking about seeing a movie this weekend, but are afraid it won't be worth your time or money? Well, we have you covered! Ryan Jay, a nationally syndicated radio film critic and entertainment guru, joins us to tell you what movies you should make a trip to see in the theater, what movies you should...

Recent related videos from verified sources

Watching 'Downton Abbey' With An Audience Gave Another Depth To The Film [Video]Watching "Downton Abbey" With An Audience Gave Another Depth To The Film

Moving from the living room to the big screen created a whole new world for both the cast and the fans of "Downton Abbey." Castmates Michael Fox, Jim Carter, Kevin Doyle, Lesley Nicol, Phyllis Logan..

Credit: AOL Build VOD     Duration: 01:49Published

Top 10 IT Moments Too Creepy for the Movies [Video]Top 10 IT Moments Too Creepy for the Movies

These are the top 10 moments from Stephen King's "It" that were cut from "It" (2017) and "It Chapter Two" (2019), both directed by Andy Muschietti. Some things are just too much for the silver screen!..

Credit: WatchMojo     Duration: 10:23Published


Recent related news from verified sources

Will The Goldfinch movie soar? A look back at other adaptations shows mixed results

The Goldfinch, a new movie based on Donna Tartt's bestselling book, has a cast full of Oscar-winners and a devoted audience eager to see the film. But will the...
CBC.ca

'Jurassic World' Short Film Could Hint at What Is To Come - Watch Now!

Fans believe the new Jurassic World short film might hint at the plot of the upcoming third movie in the franchise! The short film – titled Battle at Big Rock...
Just Jared


You Might Like

Environmentally friendly: One News Page is hosted on servers powered solely by renewable energy
© 2019 One News Page Ltd. All Rights Reserved.
About us  |  Contact us  |  Disclaimer  |  Press Room  |  Terms & Conditions  |  Content Accreditation
 RSS  |  News for my Website  |  Free news search widget  |  In the News  |  DMCA / Content Removal  |  Privacy & Data Protection Policy
How are we doing? FeedbackSend us your feedback  |   LIKE us on Facebook   FOLLOW us on Twitter  •  FOLLOW us on Pinterest
One News® is a registered trademark of One News Page Ltd.