The Goldfinch (dir. Crowley)

Image: Ashleigh Cummings and Ansel Elgort in The Goldfinch [Source: IMDB]


A boy in New York is taken in by a wealthy Upper East Side family after his mother is killed in a bombing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Director: John Crowley. Starring: Oakes Fegley, Ansel Elgort, Nicole Kidman, Jeffrey Wright, Luke Wilson, Sarah Paulson, Finn Wolfhard, Ashleigh Cummings [15]

Goldfinch is the kind of movie that is sorely missed in today’s cinematic landscape. It feels part thriller, part mystery, part coming of age, part romance and part gangster. Most impressively it manages to juggle all these different genre tones, merging them seamlessly and executing without jarring.

It does at times lean on genre tropes that pile on the cliches which does leave a funny taste in the mouth at times during the film. Wondering if Goldfinch was about to just lazily phone in an adaptation. At times the genre tropes do aid the picture, by setting a foundation for different tones and genre indicators it clues the audience in fast into conjuring up certain emotions for certain segments of the film. The direction does a great job of dancing with the narrative by leading us into a platonic romance with our main character, which is absolutely what is needed to land the narrative. We need to be in his shoes or by his side.

The film takes great liberty in detailing with the life of our main character, this does detract for the middle act of the film when it starts to border on the mundane and pointless aspects. It felt as though a lot of this section of the film could have been cut down. Contrarying to that, however, I would have liked this film to have been longer in terms of character time span, the pacing while quick and entertaining does detract slightly from our connecting to this journey. A slowing down might have given more room for the romance story to blossom and land with more significance than it did. It could have opened up some room to see his young adult life and then even some of the intimate relationship he has with his pseudo mother.

Still, all the performances are excellent and the direction hand in hand with the writing of the narrative neatly packages up The Goldfinch into a tight, entertaining and interesting film. Most loveably is how The Goldfinch feels slightly classic in its tone and style and fits in perfectly into the release time as the colder months draw in. Which if anything just aids the cold grasping for warmth story in The Goldfinch and the strange feeling of nostalgia that goes with it.

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