The Goldfinch ★½

Ah, Ansel. You crazy little man. I hope you’re happy now; I did it. I gave you money. Tell your mom I said hi.

What a sweet little mess of a film. Look, it’s not as downright horrible as many claim it to be. At times it’s investing, Oakes Fegly does a great job carrying the entire film, and it looked perfectly nice, often even pretty... is that really all the positives I have? Oh gee...

I don’t think this movie is “bad” as much as it is “nothing”. Just a fine,
inconsequential and uninspiring way to spend nearly three hours. And god, do you feel those three hours. This film is slow-paced and completely devoid of tension or interest, and that never really changes, even at it’s supposed “climax”. It is difficult to sit through, and not in a rewarding way.

In terms of performances, Oakes Fegley was the true standout. Ansel Elgort ranged from fine to bad. I had hoped he had that dramatic energy in him after Baby Driver, but it just wasn’t here. I hate to say it, but this was his shot at a more emotionally challenging role and he blew it, or perhaps John Crowley’s direction did. If you’ve seen Finn Wolfhard in the trailers, you’ll know his accent is just as bad as you think it is. I feel bad for the dude, it’s a shame to see him struggle through the most bizarre performance you could possible give someone coming off of Mike Wheeler. My friend and I literally wheezed every time he opened his mouth. Nicole Kidman did nothing, but Sarah Paulson decent.

The film’s worst flaw is it’s choppy and confusing editing/structure. Perhaps this is a leftover from the book (that i haven’t read) but it sure does make the film feel even slower. It’s basically split into two separate narratives: the more investing and thematically resonant story of Theo going from family to family as a child, dealing with his grief and developing his early drug addiction, and the one with Ansel Elgort. Needless to say, the cutting back and forth only accentuated how much of a meandering drag the adult storyline is.

So, TL:DR, if you’re a masochist with three hours to spare, check this one out. If you’re the opposite, don’t fall for Ansels puppy eyes; they have nothing for you.

Notes:
- Mentions of New Zealand and one character has a moko. Sweet.
- There was some weird “Clueless”-esque “marrying my step-sibling” shit in here and nobody seemed to care.
- The role of the painting in the story was completely lost here. It’s a fucking bird look out the goddamn window dummy.
- “harri puttar”

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