The Goldfinch

They’re creepy and they’re kooky, mysterious and spooky...
Oh, wait, I have to save that for the upcoming Adam’s Family movie.
Ok, they’re rich and sadly boring, they live in New York, intellectually walled off from each other, and this doesn’t rhyme.
Once again, I was led to believe a movie is about something entirely different than how it’s portrayed in a trailer. The Goldfinch looked to be an exciting whodunit about a terrorist event and a stolen masterpiece. While there was an unexplained explosion, and a 1654 painting goes missing, the entire middle of the movie drags on about a grieving boy coming of age among seriously broken people.
For the record, I looked up the painting. The Goldfinch is a 1654 work by Carel Fabritius of a chained goldfinch. It is a 13 by 9 inch oil painting that belongs to a collection in The Hague, Netherlands.
I did not read the Pulitzer Prize winning book from which this movie originated, but have read that this interpretation is a disappointment, losing much in translation.
The beginning and end of the movie, if the entirety of the span between those two segments could be reduced by about an hour, would have held my interest. Although beautifully filmed and filled with details that art, music and antique furniture aficionados might enjoy, the characters are shallow, temporary caretakers of their beloved collections.
Nicole Kidman’s character (Mrs. Barbour) is just weird, staring vacantly at those around her, speaking in near whispers and raising a family of similarly strange children.
Oakes Fegley and Ansel Elgort play the young and older central character Theo Decker, who survives an art museum explosion that kills his mother. He is cared for by the wealthy Barbour family until his delinquent father (Luke Wilson) appears with his girlfriend Xandra, played sufficiently skanky by Sarah Paulson. They whisk him away to a desolate, mostly foreclosed neighborhood in Las Vegas. (An interesting side note, Paulson’s father works in the Lowe’s store near our house. He sells windows. Hey, people have parents.)
Theo’s new friend Boris, who mostly raises himself, is a drug using, heavily traveled, abused son of a Russian merchant of some sort. He is also played by two actors, Finn Wolfhard from Stranger Things, and Aneurin Barnard who was in Dunkirk and tons of other TV series. Unfortunately, Wolfhard seems to have trouble maintaining a consistent Russian accent.
Luke Wilson suffers from typecasting in comedies early in his career that make him a misfit as a raging alcoholic. He and Paulson are just too recognizable for roles that would have benefited from unknown faces.
On the chance that you might choose to see this movie, I don’t want to reveal anything that turned out to be surprising. Those were the films only redeeming features.
The Goldfinch (2019) runs 2 hours, 29 minutes and is rated R.
Should I see this movie?


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