review by Drusilla Blakey
The first time I saw the trailer for The Goldfinch, I was immediately curious. I have not read the novel so was completely unaware of this story! So as I sat down to watch the film, I wondered what was going to happen. The trailer gives you an idea, but what was really going to unfold?
The movie starts and we are already deep in story mode. I found this film to be very interesting and compelling. I will admit that the movie moves slowly, but to me it was not at all slow and boring. I felt that the pacing is very deliberate and I think it's needed to keep the tension of the film alive. I feel like we're meant to experience the discomfort of our main character, young Theo, wonderfully portrayed by Oakes Fegley. His life has completely changed in an instant and he is fumbling through life and I think the pacing of the movie helped create that same feeling for the audience; we're uncertain of where we are going, just like Theo.
A little bit later, we meet Boris, played by Finn Wolfhard who many will know from the TV show 'Stranger Things' or the current films 'IT' and 'IT Chapter 2'. I think he did a great job with his Russian/Ukrainian accent and he did a great job dealing with a lot of heavy issues ranging from school issues, drugs, drinking, family issues, abuse, questions about sexuality, etc. At the same time, Oakes Fegley is also dealing with a lot of the same issues into addition to trying to find a way to deal with his loss. I always find the exploration of loss and depression through film to be so interesting and very important and relevant right now. In this instance, we can see the many coping mechanisms that are employed, but sadly no actual therapy...just the pushing of "medications" to make you 'feel better' which lead to more issues as Theo gets older.
The story moves back and forth between adult Theo and young Theo, who slowly reveal the full story to us. Adult Theo is portrayed by Ansel Elgort, who to me stole the show. He is so expressive without having an excessive
amount of dialogue As the story is shown to the audience through Theo's memories, we see young Theo doing a lot of the storytelling work, but then we see how all this has affected adult Theo and how he has to deal with the repercussions of all that happened in the past. So in that sense, adult Theo doesn't "say" much, but has much more to express to us. Both of them together did such an amazing job. You truly believe that Oakes Fegley grew up to be Ansel Elgort; seamless performances from them both!
The other amazing performance, came from Luke Wilson. I don't want to give much away, but it's shocking and scary at times. I was also happy to see Sarah Paulson do something interesting for once. I'm not a fan at all, but she did do a good job in this film and it was nice to see her do something completely different. She was all in and very believable in his role.
Overall, I enjoyed the story and the film as a whole. It did not feel long to me and it ended before I knew it. If you're a fan of the novel, I'm sure you'll be seeing it. And if not, I would encourage you to see it if you're a fan of drama, a good story, and amazing performances!