I haven’t read the Pulitzer Prize winning book by Donna Tartt that the film is based on, but it is now on my reading list.
Directed by John Crowley (Brooklyn) it is about a boy, Theo Decker (Oakes Fegley) who is visiting the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art with his mother. A terrorist’s bomb explodes killing many people, including his mom.
When Theo comes to, he wanders around debris and dead bodies. He picks up a priceless painting of a little bird entitled Goldfinch and puts it in his book bag. It’s the same painting that he and his mother were looking at when the blast occurred and the act of taking that painting changes his life forever.
Before taking it, Theo speaks to a dying man who had been standing next to him with his granddaughter before the blast. He gives Theo a ring to bring to his partner, Hobie (Jeffrey Wright) an antique furniture store owner just before he dies.
Almost everyone Theo meets from then in has a large impact on his life. From the wealthy family headed by Nicole Kidman, that takes the boy into their home, to Hobie who has a large influence on his eventual career, to his wayward father (Luke Wilson) who brings Theo to Nevada to live, and to Boris, (Finn Wolfhard), a friend who introduces Theo to hard drugs, each involvement is profound.
Ansel Elgort plays Theo as an adult. His story is told through flashbacks and voice-overs. It’s a long film (2 1/2 hours) that has a lot going on. A lot of drinking and drugs, terrorists, drug dealers, some romance, and many flawed characters.
The acting is good, the costumes and settings are memorable and the premise of the film is interesting. It’s just that with all that stuff that goes on in between, it seems that the moral of the story gets lost.