The Goldfinch Review

Hello readers,

Just a quick review today as I have had lots of deadlines recently and I’m working on a bigger post that will hopefully be out soon.

I saw the Goldfinch last Sunday and it had such an impact on me that I thought I would write a review. I had hoped to finish this review by the end of October but I wanted to do it justice.

The Goldfinch

I had been looking forward to this film for a while due to the starry cast and the trailer. It did not disappoint. Every aspect of the film was done really well and the film definitely lived up to expectations. I won’t give too much away but the film begins at the end of the events with the main character, Theo as an adult in a hotel room in Amsterdam. Something has clearly happened to him and the film tells the story of how he got there.

As a young teen in New York City, Theo suffers a traumatic event that leaves him with no where to go. The synopsis reveals that his mother is killed in a bombing at the Met. He goes to a friend Andy’s house where the Barbour family takes Theo in. Theo is very cultured as he liked to attend art galleries with his mother. Mrs Barbour bonds with him over this. When Theo’s estranged father comes back into the picture, he takes him back to Las Vegas with bartender girlfriend, Xandra. He makes a new friend Boris who leads him to a path of drugs and alcohol.

The storyline switches from Theo as an adult, working in antiques and dating Andy’s sister back to Theo in Las Vegas, struggling with loneliness and his father trying to scam him. Boris is also lonely living with his abusive father and the two bond quickly. We slowly piece together what happened between Theo’s childhood and his life as an adult.

At the centre of the film is the Goldfinch. A piece of art that Theo was looking at before the explosion in the Met. He finds it in the wreckage and decides to keep it. It is a expensive painting but Theo can’t find it in himself to give it back.

There are many things I have left out as I don’t want to reveal too much but I think the chemistry between the actors and the art direction of the film really sold it. The emotions explored were so intricate and deep that I really empathised with Theo’s life and everything he goes through.

The star-studded cast includes:

Oakes Fegley from Pete’s Dragon (2016) plays the protagonist young Theo. He had such a great manner and expression that I really believed in his character. I think he will become a household name in the future.

Ansel Elgort from The Fault in Our Stars (2014) is adult Theo. The likeness to Fegley is outstanding. Whether Elgort observed Fegley’s character and adapted it for his own character or vice versa but I never questioned that he was the older version of Fegley. It was a different role for Elgort from his usual teen films and Theo’s spiral into drugs and crime has continued into his adulthood.

Aneurin Barnard known for Dunkirk (2017) is older Boris who Theo reconnects with in New York years after the events in Vegas. His likeness to younger Boris is also uncanny but not as great as the two Theos. I have seen Barnard in another film this year Dead in a Week or Your Money Back and his character was so completely different to Boris that I was not comparing in this film.

Finn Wolfhard known for playing Mike Wheeler in Stranger Things (2016) takes a different turn as young Boris. He is from Ukraine so has a strong accent that I thought was very good. His bad boy character was so unlike Mike but Wolfhard played it really well. I think he is going to continue to be a successful young actor.

Sarah Paulson from American Horror Story (2011-2018) as Xandra, Theo’s dad’s girlfriend is transformed into a blonde bartender with highlights and false nails. I haven’t seen her in a role like this before and I think she really pulled it off.

Luke Wilson known for The Royal Tenenbaums (2001) is Theo’s dad. A washed up actor who has got into gambling, Larry turns up in New York and takes Theo away from his new life to Las Vegas where the desert is encroaching on the road. Larry doesn’t treat Theo very well and is trying to get his money. I wouldn’t reveal the ending but it was certainly a twist.

Jeffrey Wright known for Shaft (2000) as Hobie. He runs an antiques shop and his business partner, Welty dies in the explosion. Theo works with him as an adult and the two have a strong bond. Hobie also looks after Pippa, Welty’s niece until she goes to live with her aunt. We see Pippa again in the future when she comes back to the shop.

Nicole Kidman known for Moulin Rouge! (2001) is Mrs Barbour, the first mother figure Theo finds after his mother’s death. Her character was a total revelation as I feel that Kidman does loving yet poised very well but she was certainly a central player in the film.

That will be all for my review today and I hope to do a few more posts this month.

Films I have enjoyed recently are Judy; Zombieland: Double Tap; Ad Astra; Oceans’s Eleven & Twelve and In Bruges.

A few shows I can recommend are Daybreak; Living With Yourself; The Good Place and Looking for Alaska.

There’s lots of great things coming out in the cinema: The Aeronauts; Midway; Ford v Ferrari; Last Christmas; 21 Bridges; Knives Out and Charlie’s Angels.

Happy Watching


About indie-film-fanatic00

Film Student at Oxford Brookes
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