The not so gold Goldfinch

New movie brings Pulitzer winning book to the big screen


photo designed by Eclipse

This photo represents a critical point in the movie “Goldfinch”.

Logan Berggren, Features Editor

The Goldfinch is a beautifully shot movie with an exceptional cast but overall falls short when it comes to depicting the 800 page Pulitzer winning book. The chronology of the stories in the plot get scrambled leaving the viewers left putting the pieces of the movie back together.

The lead role, played by Ansel Elgort, is a man named Theodore Decker whose mother is killed by a bomb that explodes in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The movie shifts from Theodore as a young child and when he is an adult in the present. These switching in points of view cause confusion with the plot. Young Theodore is introduced to a number of characters through his childhood. After the death of his mom, he is taken in by the wealthy Barbour family. After living there for a couple months, he is randomly visited by his biological father and his girlfriend. He is then strung through many traumatic events as he grows up.

Quickly after the explosion in the museum, Theodore wakes up in a pile of ruble, with many people dead around him. As he is looking for an exit, he discovers an injured man later to be known as Welton Blackwell, an antique shop owner. He gives Theodore a ring and commands him to grab the famous Carel Fabritius’ The Goldfinch, fearful that art thieves would take it. As the movie progresses, Theodore struggles with keeping the possession of the painting a secret, mainly in distress of getting accused of theft.

The story itself is highly interesting and definitely worthy of a film, but the movie lacks excitement, suspense and attention. The story is slow moving with few scenes actually grabbing the curiosity of the viewers. Even the characters are drowned with negativity, each one struggling with some sort of trauma, leaving no trace of positivity. 

Although the plot and chronology of the film is a wash, the movie redeems itself with its astonishing cast and stunning aesthetic. The cast is full of renowned actors including Finn Wolfhard from Stranger Things, Sarah Pualson and Nicole Kidman. Each actor plays their part skillfully and convinces the audience. The aesthetic of the movie also saves the film from being a complete disaster. Most of the scenes take place in New York City and in the antique shop that adult Theodore works at. The universal vibe of the movie is exquisite and elegant making the viewers feel tranquil.

Overall, the movie does not correctly translate the book to screen. This leaves the film’s plot desperate to piece itself together. The only qualifying features that rescue the film are the actors and setting. I would recommend this movie to people who probably have not read the book because there is no fair comparison.