The Goldfinch is a 2019 drama film directed by John Crowley (True Detective, Brooklyn, Closed Circuit, & Intermission). It’s based off the novel of the same name by Donna Tartt. The film rights were purchased in 2014. Julianne Moore, Ralph Fiennes, & Liam Neeson all turned down roles for this project. It was written by Peter Straughan (The Snowman, Frank, The Debt, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, & The Men Who Stare at Goats). It was produced by Nina Jacobson (The Hunger Games franchise, Diary of a Wimpy Kid franchise, Where’d You Go, Bernadette, & American Crime Story) & Brad Simpson (World War Z, Boys Don’t Cry, Machine Gun Preacher, & American Crime Story). Amazon Studios helped with the production & funded more than a third of the budget. It premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival. The budget was estimated at $49 million & it grossed $9.7 million worldwide at the box office.
Thirteen year old Theodore Decker’s (played by: Oakes Fegley from Wonderstruck, Person of Interest, & Boardwalk Empire) mother is killed in a bombing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. In the aftermath of the bombing, Theo takes a painting, The Goldfinch which is one of the few remaining paintings by Carel Fabritius. He hides it at his apartment. Theo is then placed with the Barbours, the family of his estranged friend Andy, as he has no other relatives in the city & his father has abandoned him. Theo reconnects with Andy & becomes close to Andy’s mother Samantha Barbour (played by: Nicole Kidman from Batman Forever, Dead Calm, Days of Thunder, Dogville, Aquaman, & The Killing of a Sacred Deer). After Samantha finds an engraved ring in Theo’s possession, he goes to visit the shop where it came from called Hobart & Blackwell. The shop is run by James “Hobie” Hobart (played by: Jeffrey Wright from Angels in America, Shaft, Boardwalk Empire, & Quantum of Solace), whose deceased partner Welton “Welty” Blackwell (played by: Robert Joy from The Hills Have Eyes, Land of the Dead, Death Wish V: The Face of Death, Amityville 3-D, The Dark Half, & Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem) died in the bombing. He gave the ring to Theo to return. Welty’s niece Pippa (played by: Aimee Laurence from The Path) also survived the bombing. Hobie allows Theo & Pippa bond over it. Theo gets close to Hobie & gets interested in his life of work. Theo’s estranged & alcoholic father Larry (played by: Luke Wilson from Old School, Bottle Rocket, 3:10 to Yuma, Vacancy, & Rushmore) with his girlfriend Xandra (played by: Sarah Paulson from American Horror Story, Deadwood, Glass, Ocean’s Eight, & American Crime Story) randomly arrive to reclaim Theo. They relocate him to Las Vegas.
One of the few items he takes with him is The Goldfinch painting. Theo makes a new friend there named Boris (played by: Finn Wolfhard from Stranger Things, IT, & The Addams Family). He introduces Theo to drugs & alcohol. Theo’s father starts having problems with alcoholism & gambling again, he ends up dying in a car accident. Terrified that Xandra will place him in foster care, Theo decides to return to New York, begging Boris to come with him. Boris promises he will follow Theo, but never does. Theo goes to Hobie when he has no where to go. He allows him to live with him. Eight years after Theo (played by: Ansel Elgort from Baby Driver, Jonathan, Billionaire Boys Club, & November Criminals) returns to New York City he runs into Platt, Andy’s older brother. Platt informs Theo that Andy was killed in a boating accident. Theo goes to visit the now sickly Mrs. Barbour & reconnects with Andy’s younger sister Kitsey (played by: Willa Fitzgerald from Scream: The TV Series & Royal Pains). Theo works selling the antiques that Hobie finds & restores. A disgruntled art dealer Lucius Reeve (played by: Denis O’Hare from American Horror Story) accuses Theo of selling a fake which Theo offers to buy back. However the dealer believes tries to blackmail Theo about The Goldfinch painting. Theo becomes engaged to Kitsey. Theo goes to an unknown bar where he runs into Boris (played by: Aneurin Barnard from Dunkirk). The two reconnect with Boris telling Theo that he owes everything to their friendship. Boris apologizes to Theo, which Theo initially believes is for never coming to New York City but he then realizes is because Boris stole The Goldfinch years ago. Boris has used it to finance his life of crime. Boris is now no longer in possession of the painting. Boris tells him he has a plan to recover The Goldfinch. They fly to Amsterdam, where Theo pretends to be a wealthy businessman & they reclaim the painting. Everything goes wrong soon after. Can Theo keep his secret or Will his past catch up to him????
.The Goldfinch is one of the best movies of the year. You know what’s crazy about that statement? Almost no one knows that because this one went under the radar & it got forgotten quick. It’s a real shame most of the world didn’t give it a chance considering it’s one of the biggest flops & it lost lots of money at the box office. Maybe it will finally found it’s audience on home video because it was promoted heavily but no one was really talking about it. It mixes several sub-genres including drama, thriller, & crime. It’s more drama than anything but those last two elements kick in during the final act. The script was great & it lived up to the award winning book that it was based on. It boosted the overall quality of the performances in this. Both Oakes Fegley & Ansel Elgort were amazing as the lead. That character goes through so much here. It’s a struggle for Theo the whole time with every situation & usually it gets worse for him as he gets older. It’s a very complicated role & both actors pulled it off. Nicole Kidman used to go for flashier & bigger blockbuster type of material in her earlier days but now she is all about the love of acting which is very impressive because someone like her doesn’t have to do it based on her respected name & resume alone. I am loving the recent roles that she has picked for her career & this one is no different. She proves once again that she can go against anyone when it comes to cinema. Luke Wilson really surprised me here, he is always the good guy in movies & delivers the likable character like no other but he tried something different with this. He went the complete opposite here. I’ve never seen him go dark in anything before & he was a horrible person in The Goldfinch. This might be his best performance in his entire career. Finn Wolfhard is always fun to watch especially in stuff like Stranger Things & the IT remake but I didn’t know this kid had this kind of acting range in him! He had a perfect Russian accent, if you didn’t already know who he was then you could easily believe this was his natural voice. The rest of the supporting cast was top notch which includes Jeffrey Wright, Sarah Paulson, Denis O’Hare, Aneurin Barnard, & others. Yeah, this film is a little depressing at times so I can see why that might turn some people off but it’s worth checking out. This is definitely in my top 10 of the year, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!!
Let’s talk about the high definition presentation from Warner Bros! This 1080p (1.85:1) transfer looks stunning on blu ray. The Goldfinch has a variety of locations & it even goes international, the cinematography is beautiful here. It has various audio options which include English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, English: Dolby Digital 5.1, French: Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1, & Portuguese: Dolby Digital 5.1 on this release. It’s not an action packed feature or anything so don’t expect it to blow up speakers but it does have a few of those moments here & there. The dialogue is crystal clear & the music sounds great on the tracks. It also has English SDH, French, Portuguese, & Spanish subtitles.
Let’s discuss the special features from Warner Bros! “The Goldfinch Unbound” is almost 13 minutes. It has interviews with the cast & crew. They chat about transforming the novel into a feature film. They talk about putting together the cast & the actors in The Goldfinch. They bring yup the various locations for it. They mention the visual style & cinematography for the production. “The Real Goldfinch” is almost 9 minutes. It has interviews with the cast & crew. They go over the history of the original painting from Carel Fabritius. They chat about the reproduction of the art for the movie. They actually bring up it’s current location. 11 “Deleted Scenes” that run almost 17 minutes. There’s some interesting material here but the actual feature was a little long anyways so I am not sure they got cut due to timing & just give it a better overall flow. It’s a nice extra, I love seeing what ends up on the cutting room floor for stuff like this. It also includes a slipcover & a digital code. You can tell this one did bad in theaters because it didn’t even have an additional DVD for the release plus no 4K at all which is a shame because it’s a beautiful feature. I really hope it’s gets a new life on home video with this brand new release because it deserves more attention. It’s available everywhere right now, CHECK IT OUT!!!!