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The Goldfinch

Opening Date
19 Sep 2019
NC16 Some drug use and coarse language
150 mins
English - subtitles to be advised
John Crowley
Nicole Kidman, Sarah Paulson, Ansel Elgort, Finn Wolfhard
“Before and after.  Everything is before and after.
In the middle is the painting.” ~ Theo Decker
The last time 13-year-old Theo Decker saw his mother, she was gliding away from him into another gallery of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  Seconds later, a terrorist bomb exploded destroying priceless pieces of art…and shattering Theo’s life forever.  The tragedy changes the course of his life, sending him on a stirring odyssey of grief and guilt, reinvention and redemption, friendship and even love. 
Throughout the turbulent years, as he grows into adulthood, Theo secretly clings to a single, precious object—his one tangible connection to the mother he lost on that terrible day—a priceless painting of a tiny bird chained to its perch. The Goldfinch.

A beautifully wrought coming-of-age story, intimate in its emotion and sweeping in its design, “The Goldfinch” is the film adaptation of Donna Tartt’s globally acclaimed and beloved bestseller of the same name.  The novel, which won the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction, spent more than 30 weeks on The New York Times Best Sellers list.
By Hoai  20 Sep 2019
Unfortunately, the film fell spectacularly short of expectations, unable to translate much of the magic on the pages onto the big screen.
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It goes without saying nowadays that a popular book will get adapted into a movie (or two. Or three.) So it came as no surprise that Donna Tartt's massively popular Pulitzer Prize-winning novel “The Goldfinch" became the latest literary source material for a film adaptation. Unfortunately, the film fell spectacularly short of expectations, unable to translate much of the magic on the pages onto the big screen.
The film opens with present-day Theodore Decker (Ansel Elgort) in a hotel room lamenting the loss of the titular painting by Carel Fabritius “The Goldfinch”, before transitioning to the bombing incident at the Metropolitan Museum of Art some ten years ago, where young Theo (Oakes Fegley) gets his hands on the painting amidst the debris. With his mother killed in the explosion, Theo comes to live with the Barbours, where Mrs. Barbour (Nicole Kidman) particularly takes to him. He also makes friends with Pippa (Aimee Laurence) and her guardian Hobie (Jeffrey Wright), who introduces him to the world of antique restoration and reproduction. For the next decade of his life, as he goes through more changes and losses, Theo keeps “The Goldfinch" with him carefully wrapped in newspaper as his greatest secret, only to belatedly realise it has been swapped out years ago.
One of the main themes explored in both the novel and the film is how random encounters can have a lasting impact on a person's life. As Theo goes from childhood to adulthood, the people and experiences he encounters along the way, from the Barbours, Hobie, Pippa, his estranged father (Luke Wilson) and his eccentric friend Boris (Finn Wolfhard), all change him for better or for worse. However, without the luxury of almost 800 pages to fully explore the theme, the film only manages to scratch the surface. Drugs, robbery, terrorism, death, there is no shortage of material for drama. Yet, the film manages to make all of these life-changing events utterly dull and distant. We are merely indifferent observers of Theo's journey without any emotional attachment. Even the all-star cast, especially the captivating child actors, and beautiful cinematography, shot by famed cinematographer Roger Deakins, are not enough to keep the audience engaged when the rest of the film is so sterile and hollow.
Even at two and a half hours, “The Goldfinch" feels rushed and fragmented, jam-packed with all the plot details and none of the nuances of the novel. It is a testament to the difficulties in adapting materials in other media that Hollywood often ignores in its rush to bring anything popular and potentially profitable onto the big screen.
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