A monotonous drama, The Goldfinch is carried by great performances from the all-star cast yet can’t hit any emotional note. An awful structure and a somewhat disjointed narrative ultimately bring the movie down and deny it from reaching its potential.
Ever since I heard about this movie, I felt as though it was promising and had something important to offer. Now all I can do is express my disappointment with what actually happened, as it was pretty lifeless. The biggest factor that contributed to that was its structure and poor direction. The majority of the cast give out great performances that deserve praise but that isn’t enough to bring life into this poorly executed book adaptation. ‘The Goldfinch’ revolves around the life of 13 year old boy after his mom gets killed in terrorist attack at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
The opening scene and first act of the movie were quite unnecessarily complicated by a back and forth alternating structure, that doesn’t really serve an essential purpose within in the movie. This continues all throughout the runtime and doesn’t even add an emotional context. Here’s the thing, this movie deals with quite an emotionally heavy and sensitive topic yet it never allows viewers to empathize with the characters due to being so cold and dry. Now it does have its moments, mostly thanks to the performances and not the behind the scenes work, but they unfortunately aren’t enough to get the movie going.
The fact that it doesn’t know what story it wishes to tell makes things all the more difficult. Is it about a boy’s grief, a painting’s legacy, self discovery... who knows? I mean it certainly doesn’t. At a whopping 149 minute runtime, it is undoubtedly long, overstuffed and not the least bit engaging. It’s a true shame that it tries to be way too artistic without even tending to its own material, just showing off something that isn’t really there. As the movie perfectly put it, “everything is before and after” because it’s pretty empty in the middle.