6.2/10
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The Goldfinch (2019)

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2:25 | Trailer
A boy in New York is taken in by a wealthy Upper East Side family after his mother is killed in a bombing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Director:

John Crowley

Writers:

Peter Straughan (screenplay by), Donna Tartt (based on the novel by)
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Popularity
162 ( 38)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Oakes Fegley ... Young Theo Decker
Ansel Elgort ... Adult Theo Decker
Nicole Kidman ... Mrs. Barbour
Jeffrey Wright ... Hobie
Luke Wilson ... Larry
Sarah Paulson ... Xandra
Willa Fitzgerald ... Adult Kitsey Barbour
Aneurin Barnard ... Adult Boris
Finn Wolfhard ... Young Boris
Ashleigh Cummings ... Adult Pippa
Aimee Laurence ... Young Pippa (as Aimée Lawrence)
Robert Joy ... Welty
Boyd Gaines ... Mr. Barbour
Carly Connors ... Young Kitsey Barbour
Luke Kleintank ... Adult Platt Barbour
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Storyline

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.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The Story of a Stolen Life

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for drug use and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Goofs

Ansel Elgort (Adult Theo) has a pair of birth marks under his mouth, whereas no such marks appeared on Oakes Fegley (Young Theo). See more »

Quotes

Adult Theo Decker: In Amsterdam, I dreamt I saw my mother again.
See more »

Connections

Featured in WatchMojo: Top 10 Movie Flops of the Last Decade (2020) See more »

Soundtracks

Goldberg Variations, BWV 988, Variation #27 Canone alla Nona
Written by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performed by Glenn Gould
Courtesy of CBC Archives
See more »

User Reviews

 
Jumps from flashback to flash-forward to yet another flashback
22 October 2019 | by JamesHitchcockSee all my reviews

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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Details

Official Sites:

Official Site

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Ukrainian | German | French

Release Date:

13 September 2019 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Goldfinch See more »

Filming Locations:

New York City, New York, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$45,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$2,679,027, 15 September 2019

Gross USA:

$5,332,621

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$9,932,621
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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