The Goldfinch (2019)


“In Amsterdam, I dreamt I saw my mother again.” – Theo Decker

Number of Times Seen – 1 (20 Nov 2019)

Brief Synopsis – After his mother is killed in a terrorist bombing, a young boy goes to live with the family of a friend where he tries to find meaning in his life.

My Take on it – This is a film that I heard about a few months back and was curious to finally see what it was about especially given the fact that it is an adaptation of a best selling novel.

The premise is quite intriguing and leaves the viewer with so much to enjoy as the story unfolds.

Unfortunately, the film’s story has great momentum up until the mid way point and then it veers off to an unsatisfying path.

The story actually feels like a modern day fairy tale by the way things are presented and they do a great job introducing the characters along with the choices they make on how to live their lives.

This is a movie that deals with the idea that we all face junctions in our lives that lead us down paths that we never expected and how we must adjust to these paths in order to find a balance along the way.

The story is broken up into two different parts of the main character’s life and the portions that take place in the past are much more powerful than the ones in the present.

This has much to do with the fact that the parts in the past are dealt with in a slow deliberate way which allows things to play out well, but the sections in the present feel too forced and rushed which hurts things too much.

Anson Elgort is fine in the lead role as the adult “Theo”, but for the same reason mentioned earlier, the sections where Oakes Fegley plays the character are much more powerful and enjoyable to watch.

Bottom Line – Great premise that loses much of its momentum around the mid-way point of the film.  The story feels like a modern day fairy tale and works quite well in establishing the characters and the kind of lives that they create for themselves. This film deals with the idea of the way that life leads us down paths that we never would expect yet still need to find a way to balance ourselves on this journey. The parts of the story that take place in the past are much more powerful than the ones in the present and that has more to do with the fact that the former sections take their time while the latter ones feel too rushed.  Elgort is fine in the lead, but Fegley is what makes this film more enjoyable to watch. Recommended!

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – Earning just 2.8m $ revenue at the US box office on its first weekend (coming in at #8), this film had one of the worst wide releases of all time. (From IMDB)

Rating – Globe Worthy (7/10)

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2 thoughts on “The Goldfinch (2019)

  1. Hard to judge your review of the film if you didn’t read the novel. I read the novel. And started to hear that the film came nowhere close to doing it justice. The novel was terrific. A Pulitzer Prize winner. Very dense (over 700 pages long) chockablock with wonderful characters. The set up is known – but having read the book – there is nothing “fairy tale” about it – so your use of that term to describe the film makes me think that the bad reviews were justified. There is no way that they could have done justice to the intricacies of the main and minor plotlines in a 2 and 1/2 hour movie. Many said it would’ve worked far better as a miniseries. Based on all of that – I decided not to see the movie. When it pops up on HBO in a few months – I’ll probably record it to watch. Out of curiosity. If it sinks quickly, I’ll turn it off. If I’m pleasantly surprised – I’ll watch til the end. It certainly sports an excellent cast – making it’s failure as a film even more disappointing.

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