It’s All Theo’s Fault

“The Goldfinch” is a film directed by John Crowley with screenwriter Peter Straughan adapting the novel written by Donna Tartt.  The story centers on a young man named Theodore Decker, played by Ansel Elgort, whose mother was killed in a bombing Metropolitan Museum of Art when he was thirteen years-old.  A much younger actor with the distinctive name of Oakes Fegley takes on the younger Theo.  The film also stars Jeffrey Wright, Nicole Kidman, and Luke Wilson.

Theo has grown up and sells antiques in New York, alongside a mentor, played by Wright.  This is one of those films which cuts back and forth between his adult years and his troubled childhood.  Theo has developed a substance abuse problem to go along with his other challenges.  After his mother’s death, the movie explores how Theo was betrayed by those who were supposed to care for him, and encouraged by those who had no such obligation.

I ended up liking the film, but it’s another one that still was a mixed bag.  It’s a long movie and it feels like a long movie.  The transitions between the two main eras of Theo’s life was a little jarring.  The cast was great though.  Reliable performers such as Wright and Kidman still managed to keep me engaged.  It was an interesting story for the most part and delved into the world of art history and antiques, which I didn’t mind.  I was rather distracted by some of the extraordinary coincidences that sort of kept cropping up on how the adult Theo kept reconnecting with aspects of his childhood.  I have yet to read the novel, so I can’t say for sure, but it really felt like a lot was left out of the adaptation which could have helped the screen version make a little better sense.

It’s a film I didn’t necessarily mind seeing, but I would say it’s probably something one doesn’t need to make a special effort to watch.

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