Inspired by real events in the life of French New Wave icon Jean Seberg. In the late 1960s, Hoover's FBI targeted her because of her political and romantic involvement with civil rights activist Hakim Jamal.
Consummate con man Roy Courtnay has set his sights on his latest mark: the recently widowed Betty McLeish, worth millions. But this time, what should have been a simple swindle escalates into a cat-and-mouse game with the ultimate stakes.
A loving mom becomes compelled to reconnect with her creative passions after years of sacrificing herself for her family. Her leap of faith takes her on an epic adventure that jump-starts her life and leads to her triumphant rediscovery.
The beloved superintendent of New York's Roslyn school district and his staff, friends and relatives become the prime suspects in the unfolding of the single largest public school embezzlement scandal in American history.
13-year-old New Yorker Theo Decker's life is turned upside-down when his mother is killed in a terrorist attack at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Confused in the rubble of the tragedy, he steals a priceless piece of art known as The Goldfinch.
First collaboration between Amazon and Warner Bros. Amazon is providing more than a third of the film's budget and has exclusive streaming rights and distribution through their entertainment platform. Warner Bros. has control over theatrical and global distribution. See more »
Jumps from flashback to flash-forward to yet another flashback
Let me state from the outset that I have never read Donna Tartt's novel, so my criticisms of this movie are not those of the "loved the book, hated the film" school of thought. A woman named Audrey Decker is killed in a terrorist bomb attack at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The film is not about the terrorists- we never learn who they are or what their motives are- but about Audrey's thirteen-year-old son Theo. He is with his mother when she is killed, but survives, and staggers out of the museum holding a painting, "The Goldfinch" by Carel Fabritius. (Tartt chose this painting because of its history. Fabritius was killed in a gunpowder explosion in 1654, which also destroyed his workshop and many of his paintings. "The Goldfinch" was in the building at the time, but survived).
Audrey was divorced from her deadbeat alcoholic husband, Larry, who never showed any interest in his son, so Theo is placed with the Barbours, the family of one of his friends. He takes "The Goldfinch" with him and keeps it in his room; the museum authorities never make any attempt to trace it, assuming that it had been destroyed in the bombing. He bonds well with the family, who share his interest in art and antiques, and they consider adopting him, but before they can do so, Larry and his girlfriend Xandra reappear, reclaim Theo, and take him back to their home in the suburbs of Las Vegas. While living there, Theo makes a friend in Boris, the son of a Ukrainian immigrant, who will play an important role in his later life. After Larry is killed in a car crash, Theo runs away from Las Vegas and returns to New York, where he is taken in by Hobie, an antique dealer and restorer whose acquaintance he made while living with the Barbours. Theo's love of antiques increases, and when he becomes an adult he goes into the antiques trade, becoming Hobie's partner. "The Goldfinch" will play an important part in all his subsequent adventures.
The critical consensus on the Rotten Tomatoes website describes the film as "Beautifully filmed yet mostly inert", but the word "inert" does not seem to me to be appropriate. The above synopsis is arranged in chronological order, but this is not the order in which events happen in the film itself, as its timeline has a particularly complex structure. The word I would use to describe it is not "inert" but "frenetic"; it jumps all over the place, from flashback to flash-forward to yet another flashback, making the story difficult, and at times near-impossible to follow. My synopsis also simplifies the plot considerably, omitting as it does Theo's two romantic attachments and the confusing thriller-style ending which involves Theo and his old friend Boris tangling with a drugs gang. (Don't ask why).
The film does have some positive aspects. There are also some interesting contrasts between two different Americas, the world of the Barbours, literate, cultured and metropolitan Manhattanites and that of the philistine Larry and Xandra who live in a largely deserted housing development on the edge of the desert, a long way from anything that looks like civilisation. Director John Crowley seems to be using the emptiness and barrenness of the desert landscapes as a metaphor for the emptiness and barrenness of their lives.
The "beautifully filmed" part of the Rotten Tomatoes verdict strikes me as accurate, and there are some good acting performances, especially from Oakes Fegley as the young Theo Jeffrey Wright as his mentor Hobie and Nicole Kidman (a star whose undoubted talent for acting is not always matched by a talent for picking the right films) in a supporting role as Samantha Barbour, the woman who almost becomes Theo's adopted mother and who nurtures his interest in the arts. (I was less taken by Ansel Elgort as the adult Theo or by some of the other actors). The film's few virtues, however, were never enough in my opinion to compensate for its manifest faults. 5/10
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