The movie The Goldfinch is being widely panned. The reviewer in the Atlantic was absolutely scathing in his evaluation of the film. Friends asked us to go to the movie on Friday night and so we did, more to spend time with them than to see the film. But as we enjoyed snacks and drinks after the movie and talked about the film we all said it had kept us engaged. I actually liked the movie far more than I thought I would. The film The Goldfinch is based on the novel of the same name by Donna Tartt. It was a disappointing read for me despite the fact it won a Pulitzer Prize. The book started off wonderfully, totally drew me in, and then slowed down to a painful crawl in the middle as the hero Theo descended into a hell of drugs, alcohol and a horrible life with his troubled father. Thankfully in the film, this middle section of the story had to be condensed due to time constraints and that was just fine with me.
Some critics said the movie was hard to follow because it jumps around a lot between time periods in Theo’s life Having read the book already I had no trouble with plot sequence and in fact the jumps to different time periods kept me engaged.
The cinematography in the movie was well done, helping to bring to life the elegance of Theo’s New York home with the Barbour family, the stark barreness of the Las Vegas desert where Theo lives with his father, and the rich warm comfort of the furniture shop where Theo eventually comes to live with his friend Hobie.
I wanted the book to have a more satisfying ending and hoped the film might provide that. Unfortunately it did not.
Sometimes when a movie gets amazing reviews you are disappointed when it doesn’t measure up in your estimation. In this case, for me at least, the movie exceeded the horrible reviews it received.