Goldfinch by John Crowley (2019)

goldfinch movie

L: 2/10

M: 0/10

Analysis from a shadow stretched far too thin to make sense any longer :

Never had I been more excited for a book I’ve read to be molded into a film. Never have I been so let down, devastated, shook, by the end result. This is such trash. I don’t even know how it got a 2 out of me. It has to be residual dust of the novel falling through the floorboards of this shit house firestorm.

Why is it so off-putting? I kept asking myself this while watching the movie. I knew it bombed in record-setting levels in its release. Still, nothing could sway my high hopes. The novel deals with a long duration of time, cut into three distinct eras in the main characters’ life. In the book, this is accomplished in long passages, linearly written. The movie jumps all over the place, confusing someone who’s even read the book. The initial trauma isn’t as much of an action scene, as just the initial jump-starts to a story. The film takes this and shows only small glimpses, over and over, and when the mother is finally shown in the last moments, and the tragedy is finally revealed fully, it’s not even relevant anymore.

This is too much of a story to be crammed into one movie. Still, the storyboarding is such a mess, and the pacing is straight trash. I feel like some of the casting is done well, I enjoyed Nicole Kidman and Sarah Paulsen in their roles, but everyone else seems a little off. Ansel Elgort seriously needs to stop being made into a thing. It’s not going to happen. It was the perfect story when Edgar Wright cast him as a heist driver who falls somewhere on the spectrum. That’s where his limit lies. Theo is supposed to be a tinderbox of emotions, falling from tragedy to despair to loneliness to hope and finally settling on acceptance. Here, Theo is just a cardboard box that cries a couple of times. The small bit of action is done poorly and set up as a crux of the film, and it’s almost funny at the degree in which it fails.

This movie is a mess, and part of me feels grief for all the people I gave a copy of The Goldfinch to. Such disappointment lies ahead for all those poor soles.

Analysis from an empty wrapping paper roll:

It was going to be difficult to truly make a movie that would measure up to this amazing book. I knew going in that it was going to be a stretch. I had planned to be slightly disappointed. It wasn’t fair of me to go in expecting them to take a book that still speaks so strongly to me and translate it perfectly. I was cautiously optimistic going in. It would just be a new version of a story I love. Those were might thoughts going in.

What the damn hell you guys!?!?

This movie is, without a doubt, one of the biggest disappointments I’ve come across. Had I not read the book, I would never have been able to follow the disconnected storyline. How does someone with no background of the book even understand what the hell is going on? The story is not fluid at all, but it also fails to set up every significant relationship! You are just thrown into the middle of some intense dynamic without a clue to how you got there! It is utter insanity! Oh, and the mom, who is this amazing underlying force through the entire movie, is seen only in the last few minutes? And for what reason? The fight scene over the painting is clearly written and directed by a 12-year-old who has a recent obsession with the mafia but not a real idea of how it works. The blood dripping suit was a nice touch.

Can we talk about Pippa? The book built this beautiful friendship and relationship, and I was addicted to her presence and dynamic, yet in this “movie,” you barely recognize her as an essential character.

The bottom line is the book is amazing, and the movie doesn’t even deserve to be on Lifetime. Sorry.

John Crowley

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