Geek Review: The Goldfinch

So, the novel version of The Goldfinch was a huge bestseller.  As such, it makes sense to make a movie out of it.  Now, I’ve never read the novel and don’t really know anything about it.  But hey, the director’s filmography includes a Best Picture nominee, and the cast looks mighty impressive.

Why not check it out?

Well, for one thing, because it’s not very good.

Theo Decker (Ansel Elgort as an adult) had a traumatic thing happen to him as a child.  While visiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art with his mother, a terrorist attack kills her while sparing him.  In the confusion, he listens to a dying man and takes a valuable painting with him.  That would be The Goldfinch.  From there, Theo bounces around different homes, has an unrequited love for another survivor, and other problems.  His opening narration suggests he can’t be happy again as a result of his mother’s death.

Well, he can’t seem to be anything else either.

This is one dull movie.  Characters seem to either show no emotion whatsoever or else they shout loudly.  As such, the movie manages to waste a talented cast that includes Nicole Kidman, Jeffrey Wright, Luke Wilson, and Sarah Paulson.  And when these actors aren’t barely emoting or screaming, well, we get artsy shots of dust.

The end result is it is really hard to care about how messed up Theo is.  It’s even hard to say if Theo cares.  And that’s not even getting into actor Finn Wolfhand’s cartoonish Russian accent.  Technically, this was a well-constructed movie.  It was just boring.  6 out of 10 scenes when I realized the dog was the only character I cared about.

By the by, normally I find movies with at least interesting stories based on novels make me want to read the book.  The Goldfinch was so dull and melodramatic (at best) that I have less interest in reading the book than I did before I saw the movie.  That more or less never happens.

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