The Goldfinch [2019] ★★½

I don’t know what “The Goldfinch” purists will make out of this big screen adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize winning book, but even the best ones tend to fall a bit short, especially in the eyes of those dedicated readers. With that aside, I thought the film version was good enough to justify its existence. It’s not great by any means, and it lacks a bit of emotional depth, but the story kept me intrigued at every turn and I thoroughly enjoyed watching it unfold. In terms of plot (and just in case you’ve never read the book), all you need to know is that Theo (played by Oakes Fegley as a kid and by Ensel Elgort as an adult) is a 13-year-old boy who witnesses the death of his mother during a bombing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. This incident will eventually trigger a chain of events, which you will have to see for yourself. All I can tell you is that it’s so easy and inviting to lose yourself in this boy’s world, which is exactly what they intended to do. All the actors are good, especially young Oakes Fegley who doesn’t strike a false note. And it’s always a pleasure to see Nicole Kidman, who plays the woman who takes Theo in and treats him like family. But a film of this kind ought to make me “feel” more. That’s what I was hoping for, and while I got what I wanted several times, I still wanted more. No matter. In terms of story, acting and pace, “The Goldfinch” gets the job done. Even better, you’ll find yourself thinking about some of its beautiful passages, long after the credits start rolling.

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