The Goldfinch

6.32 h 29 min2019X-RayR
Tragedy changes Theodore Decker's life after his mother was killed in a bombing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He holds on to a painting as hope from that tragic day. The Goldfinch.
John Crowley
Ansel ElgortOakes FegleyAneurin Barnard
English [CC]
Audio languages
EnglishEnglish [Audio Description]

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Supporting actors
Finn WolfhardAshleigh CummingsWilla FitzgeraldAimee LaurenceSarah PaulsonLuke WilsonJeffrey WrightNicole Kidman
Nina JacobsonBrad Simpson
R (Restricted)
Content advisory
Alcohol usesmokingsubstance usefoul languagesexual contentnudityviolence
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4.2 out of 5 stars

3000 global ratings

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  2. 16% of reviews have 4 stars
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  5. 6% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United States

Alyssa A. LappenReviewed in the United States on April 5, 2022
3.0 out of 5 stars
Very little works well
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Some years ago, I tried reading the Donna Tartt's winning 2013 novel. The person who'd strongly recommended it noted it would make a great movie. The novel did not grab me, for whatever reason, but the recommendation for a film stuck. Adapted by Peter Straughan, directed by John Crowley, with a massive $45 million budget, I remembered that when I saw it offered on Amazon Prime. So I took a flier, alas without first checking the film's reviews.

Jeffrey Wright did an excellent job in the supporting role of Hobie (short for Hobart, a partner of the fictional Blackwell and Hobart antique shop), who figures centrally in Theodore Decker's life). I didn't love any of the other key actors or actresses, not even Nicole Kidman as Samantha Barbour, the mother of Theo's school friend Andy.

Overall, the film is quite bleak, full of violence (a musum explosion, the rubble of the aftermath), shootings, theft and heavy duty snuffable and ingestible drugs. The film's resolution is somewhat uplifting, but to get there, one must sit through well over 2.5 hours of less-than-great character acting and dysfunctional family dynamics (among other things) and is not entirely worth the time or effort.

What drew my interest was the Carel Fabritius' 1654 painting ‘The Goldfinch,' of central interest at the film's beginning, middle and end. Fabritius was a student of Rembrandt who died young in the Oct. 12, 1654 gunpowder explosion that destroyed Fabtirrius' studio and flattened 25 percent of Delft (to which he'd moved from Amsterdam in the early 1650s). But to suffer through the poorly acted loss of Theo's mother in a museum explosion, the poorly acted aftermath, and most of the doom and gloom is difficult.

I stuck with it because I wanted to know more about the painting, but one learns little to nothing about The Goldfinch, one of only a relative handful of the artist's works that survived the catastrophic 1654 explosion that took his life.

In actuality, the painting is in a museum in the Hague. If it was ever loaned to The Metropolitan Museum, where the novel's fictional explosion occurs, I don't know. Clearly this master work must have been one of the last works Fabritius painted. But viewers don't even learn that much in this film.

Of the modern explosion, in which his mother dies, the film shows only Theo's recollection, not her death and not her remains. A later recollection of the scene takes Theo deeper into the rubble and smoke filled museum to talk with Welty Blackwell, Hobie's partner, who shortly thereafter expires. Theo has miraculously survived but takes Fabritius' 1654 ‘The Goldfinch” in his book bag and holds onto it for years. Or so he thinks.

He asks the emergency crews and police to call the family of his friend Andy Barbour (well played by Ryan Foust), which takes him in, and Theo remarkably attaches to the remote and stiff Samantha Barbour. Alas, his father Larry, who had abandoned the family and moved to Las Vegas, suddenly shows up to bring Theo to a largely empty housing development in the desert, clearly after the post-2008 mortgage bond bubble and foreclosure crisis. Eventually Theo learns from his actions that his no-good father merely harbored an ulterior motive, to get at Theo's college fund. So he runs back to New York City and shows up with his book bag, amidst an impossible rain storm, at Hobie's door. Time flies and Theo helps rescue Hobie's business, which has without Welty, grown hobbled and indebted.

Despite the lavish production, very little of this film works well. I wish I'd checked the reviews before taking the time to watch it.
One person found this helpful
Miz EssReviewed in the United States on May 15, 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
Please keep in mind that appreciation of art is subjective
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I strongly disagree with the negative reviews of this film. I rarely review anything, but I feel that The Goldfinch deserves another voice in its favor.

While I appreciate that everyone has a right to voice his or her own opinions and should do so, I disagree with the herd mentality that he or she who speaks the loudest is always right, therefore no one should venture out of the herd in order to have his or her own experiences and form individual opinions.

Quite often the biggest bauble dangling in the room is not really beautiful, but actually quite gaudy and yet garners the most attention. Sometimes the simplest gem that is set aside and for the most part goes unnoticed and unappreciated is truly the most exquisite.

With regard to this film, I reference the comparisons made between the many positive reviews of the Downton Abbey film to the negative reviews of The Goldfinch. Both films opened around the same time. Downton Abbey was a spectacularly photogenic film, the cast and characters likeable. I watched the television series, which made the film predictable. For me, Downton Abbey was an enjoyable film but not particularly special in any way and the television series was better.

In my opinion, The Goldfinch is quite special. I find this film to be genuinely representative of the nuances and complications of relationships and moral values, the appreciation of the beauty in simple things that become treasures and art, the pain that is found in loss and in remorse and at times in love, and the truth in the statement that sometimes the things that happen and that we humans do are "just life."

I perceived the sentiment of this film to be that despite everything that hurts us or that we do that hurts others intentionally or not, forgiveness of others and of self is a good thing, and the beauty we find in life is more worth living for than dying because of the things that hurt us.

In my opinion, the lead actors are wonderful. The children are especially good. Finn Wolfhard is a gifted young man with a long career ahead of him. Oakes Fegley and Ryan Foust were revelations to me and I believe that they, too, have the potential of long-lasting film careers.

The supporting roles were well-performed by Luke Wilson and Sarah Paulson. I find Jeffrey Wright to be the finest gem in this film. Mr. Wright's performance is brilliantly nuanced. He says so much without speaking, but with a simple glance, the twitch of an eyebrow, the lowering of his head and shoulders as he slowly turns away. Conversely, I find Ms. Kidman's performance in her supporting role to be unsubtle and extremely dull, especially when she is speaking. At times, I quite like Ms. Kidman's character portrayals in certain films, but this one falls flat. Thankfully, those around her twinkle like stars and make The Goldfinch worth watching.

Please don't overlook this film based solely on the negative reviews. I encourage everyone to watch The Goldfinch with an open mind, free of expectations especially if you have read the book, and see where the paths in this film take you. I hope that you are touched by The Goldfinch in the positive ways that this film moved me.

I respectfully request that those who feel compelled to review any film or book to please not include plot details that spoil the piece for others. Revealing details ruins others' right to their own experiences and discoveries of things that they might treasure whether or not the piece is liked by the reviewer.

Best wishes to you and yours. Stay safe and well during this frightening pandemic.
51 people found this helpful
Jerome ThamesReviewed in the United States on September 29, 2022
5.0 out of 5 stars
The Goldfinch is a beautiful revelation of Donna Tartt's sublime novel
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The vehicle is magnificent as are the actors who play in Tartt's universe. The movie elegantly explains that we are transient but our creations whether they be values, children, ideas, or even new worlds, are immortal.
DebReviewed in the United States on September 25, 2022
4.0 out of 5 stars
Watch it twice.
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People are complicated.
linda galellaReviewed in the United States on August 5, 2021
3.0 out of 5 stars
Haven’t read the book, (yet), so
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no preconceived notions before viewing this film!

My first two reactions when the movie ended were these: it was unnecessarily long, and I’m going to read the book. While I was wishing for the lumbering sections to move along, I checked out the novel and found out it was over 750 pages and a Pulitzer Prize winner. Hhhmmm, if the movie feels long at 149 minutes, I wonder how the book will feel? It could be the adaptation isn’t as good as it could be or perhaps this project was better suited for a multi part series. That assessment will need to wait until I read the book.

The story is told in 2 timelines, (Theo as a 13 y.o. and as a young man), and by way of flashbacks. It’s easy enough to follow along but the flashbacks are too ethereal until the last 10-15% of the movie. It would have been nice to get some nuggets of insight to his emotions along the way. The young actor that played Theo was very good but his character development was too confined. Other characters were fine altho’ I almost didn’t recognize Nicole Kidman. She looked pinched and played her part very closed and small.

With NYC as the setting, there’s no faking it if a movie is going to work at all. The cinematography is good, in Nevada and Amsterdam also. There’s not a lot of outside, broad sweeping shots or wild chasing scenes but the few action scenes that exist didn’t make me nauseous. Scene to scene transitions are smooth and the overall continuity makes sense most of the time.

Theo’s business definitely needed more development. That whole aspect of the story is an huge mystery as he jumps from a taxi in the desert, to a soggy bed in the antique shop and an adult antique dealer all in 2 minutes; too much, too soon with too little info.

For sure, the ending is the best part. Well, the beginning is really good too, it will get you involved and looking forward to an unusual thriller. Unfortunately, that’s not what this turned out to be. The movie is peppered with f-bombs that are not necessary. It ruins this film from being enjoyed by young teens who would be a good audience for it, in its current state. The writers could have chosen from an host of other far less offensive words. In fact, I don’t recall there being ANY other expletives in this flick; REALLY annoying🍿

Fiction, Fiction, Fiction August 2021 #4
One person found this helpful
WAMReviewed in the United States on August 3, 2022
4.0 out of 5 stars
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The movie was OK, but a little slow. There was was many times that I said to myself, OK is this going to get better.
carol padgettReviewed in the United States on June 19, 2022
4.0 out of 5 stars
First read the book.
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If the film had followed the events sequentially, it would have been better. As it was presented, it leaned too much on the book. Having read the book, I was able to piece together the plot. Some readers find the book too long and at times tedious, but to be able to enjoy the film, one must have read the book first. Over all, I enjoyed the film.
lawyeraauReviewed in the United States on May 22, 2020
4.0 out of 5 stars
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I almost did not watch this film, as it has been panned by the critics, and It bombed at the box office. I also have not yet read the Pulitzer Prize winning novel upon which the film is based. Still, I decided to give it a look, and I was pleasantly surprised.

The film centers around a boy who loses is mother in a terrorist bombing in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. During the ensuing melee, he steals a small painting of a bird, The Goldfinch, which was his mother’s favorite, and it is presumed destroyed in the bombing. It is a connection to his mother, one that he safeguards over the years.

The boy becomes a gypsy of sorts, first living with a family of one of his school mates, then with Hobie, a kindly antique dealer, and then his errant, drunken father, who takes him to live with him and his sleazy girl friend in the Nevada desert. There, his only solace is his friendship with Boris, another boy whose home life also leaves a lot to be desired. When freedom comes in an unexpected way, he returns to New York, seeking out Hobie. He then grows up, living his life, but then the unthinkable happens.

The film is well acted by all, with special kudos to Jeffrey Wright in the role of Hobie. The production value were also excellent. The story in not told in a linear fashion, but jumps back and forth between the past and the present. I did not find this problematic as did others. Overall, I enjoyed the film, finding it poignant. It also made me want to read the book.
One person found this helpful
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