The Goldfinch (film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||John Crowley|
|Screenplay by||Peter Straughan|
|Based on||The Goldfinch|
by Donna Tartt
|Music by||Trevor Gureckis|
|Edited by||Kelley Dixon|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros. Pictures|
|Box office||$5.6 million|
The Goldfinch is a 2019 American drama film directed by John Crowley and written by Peter Straughan, adapted from the 2013 novel of the same name by Donna Tartt. The film stars Ansel Elgort as a young man whose troubled childhood leads him to the world of art forgery after his mother died in a terrorist bomb attack during his time in the museum while taking interest in a painting called the Goldfinch, in which he attempts to recover it from being stolen. Oakes Fegley, Aneurin Barnard, Finn Wolfhard, Sarah Paulson, Luke Wilson, Jeffrey Wright, and Nicole Kidman appear in supporting roles.
Film rights to the novel were sold to Warner Bros. and RatPac Entertainment with ICM Partners brokering the deal. Two years later, Crowley was hired to direct the film adaptation and Elgort was selected to portray the lead role of Theodore "Theo" Decker, following his breakout turn in Baby Driver. Much of the cast joined from October 2017 to January 2018. Filming took place in New York on January 23, 2018, before moving to Albuquerque on April 3, 2018 for the rest of production.
The Goldfinch premiered at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival and was theatrically released in the United States on September 13, 2019, by Warner Bros. Pictures. The film received generally negative reviews from critics, with many praising the performances, atmosphere and faithfulness to the book, while criticizing the inconsistent tone and story and was a box-office bomb, with estimated losses for the studio as high as $50 million.
13-year-old Theodore Decker's mother is killed in a bombing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. As a result, Theo is placed with the Barbours, the family of his estranged friend Andy, as he has no other relatives in the city and his father has abandoned him.
Theo reconnects with Andy and becomes close to Andy's mother, Samantha Barbour, who encourages his interest in her antiques and art. After Samantha finds an engraved ring in Theo's possession, he goes to visit the shop where it came from, Hobart & Blackwell. The shop is run by James "Hobie" Hobart, whose deceased partner Welton "Welty" Blackwell died in the bombing and gave the ring to Theo to return. Welty's niece, Pippa, was also at the museum and survived the bombing. Hobie allows Theo to visit with Pippa, who has serious injuries, and the two bond. Theo begins to regularly visit Hobie, even after Pippa leaves to live with her aunt in Texas.
Theo begins to settle into life with the Barbours and is invited to go on vacation with them as Andy is hinting that his parents are considering adopting him. Before they can, Theo's estranged and alcoholic father, Larry (Luke Wilson), newly detoxed, and his girlfriend Xandra (Sarah Paulson) arrive to reclaim Theo and relocate him to Las Vegas. One of the few items he takes with him is The Goldfinch, one of the few remaining paintings by Carel Fabritius which Theo stole from the museum after the bombing.
Eight years later, Theo has returned to New York City where he runs into Platt, Andy's older brother. Platt informs Theo that his father was bipolar and that he and Andy were killed in a boating accident during one of his episodes. Theo goes to visit a now sickly Mrs. Barbour and reconnects with Andy's younger sister Kitsey, who flirts with him.
Theo now works selling the antiques that Hobie finds and restores. A disgruntled art dealer accuses Theo of selling a fake, which Theo offers to buy back. However the dealer believes that Theo possesses The Goldfinch and is using it as collateral to finance his shop. Theo is shocked that the man made the connection between him and the painting but is relieved that his guess as to its whereabouts is wrong as Theo continues to keep the wrapped painting in a storage locker.
Eight years earlier, when Theo was living in Las Vegas, he managed to make one friend, Boris, a Ukrainian immigrant whose father was physically abusive. Boris, who had also lost his mother, introduced Theo to drugs and alcohol. Theo's father, sliding further into alcoholism and gambling, dies in a car accident. Terrified that Xandra would place him in foster care, Theo decided to return to New York. begging Boris to come with him. Boris promised he would follow Theo, but never did. Theo ran to Hobie who allowed him to permanently live with him.
In the present Theo becomes engaged to Kitsey, whom he does not love, still harboring a secret love for Pippa, who now lives in London. Theo catches Kitsey cheating on him, but decides to remain engaged due to his love for Mrs. Barbour and Kitsey's permissive attitude towards his drug habit.
Looking to score pills one day, Theo goes to an unknown bar where he runs into Boris. The two reconnect, with Boris telling Theo that he owes everything to their friendship. Boris apologizes to Theo which Theo initially believes is for never coming to New York City, but which he realizes is because Boris stole The Goldfinch years ago, after Theo showed it to him during a blackout. Ever since Boris has used it to finance his life of crime. Boris is now no longer in possession of the painting, as a gang of thugs have stolen it. Theo is horrified and runs away from Boris.
At Theo's engagement party to Kitsey, Boris arrives and tells him he has a plan to recover The Goldfinch. They fly to Amsterdam, where Theo pretends to be a wealthy businessman, and they reclaim the painting. However, the plan goes poorly, and Boris is shot. Theo kills a man in self-defense, losing the painting again.
Theo goes to his hotel room and tries to commit suicide, only to be rescued by Boris. Boris tells Theo that, knowing where the painting was, he had a friend call in a tip to the police to recover it. After organizing a raid the police were able to safely recover the painting along with other lost and stolen art including a Rembrandt. Boris argues that perhaps their strange and unwieldy path was all for the greater good and that it is all part of the strange thing called life.
- Ansel Elgort as Theodore "Theo" Decker, Audrey and Larry's son.
- Oakes Fegley as young Theo
- Aneurin Barnard as Boris Pavlikovsky, a cosmopolitan son of a Ukrainian émigré who becomes Theo's close friend.
- Finn Wolfhard as young Boris
- Nicole Kidman as Samantha Barbour, Chance's wife and the seemingly chilly but kind and wealthy socialite mother of Platt, Kitsey and Andy who takes in the orphaned Theo.
- Sarah Paulson as Xandra, a prostitute and the ex-girlfriend of Larry Decker.
- Luke Wilson as Larry Decker, Theo's deadbeat father, Audrey's husband and a failed actor turned gambler and alcoholic.
- Jeffrey Wright as James "Hobie" Hobart, Theo's mentor, Pippa's legal guardian and Welty's partner.
- Ashleigh Cummings as Pippa, Theo's unrequited love and obsession.
- Aimee Laurence as young Pippa
- Willa Fitzgerald as Kitsey Barbour, Andy and Platt's sister, Theo's fiancée and Chance and Samantha's daughter.
- Denis O'Hare as Lucius Reeve, a dangerous art collector who discovers Theo's secret.
- Boyd Gaines as Chance Barbour, Samantha's husband and Kitsey, Andy and Platt's father.
- Peter Jacobson as Mr. Silver
- Luke Kleintank as Platt Barbour, Andy and Kitsey's older brother and Chance and Samantha's son.
- Jack DiFalco as young Platt
- Robert Joy as Welton "Welty" Blackwell, Hobie's partner.
- Ryan Foust as Andy Barbour, Chance and Samantha's son and Platt and Kitsey's brother who is a school-friend of Theo.
- Hailey Wist as Audrey Decker, Theodore's mother and Larry's wife.
In July 2014, film rights to the novel were sold to Warner Bros. Pictures and RatPac Entertainment with ICM Partners brokering the deal. Two years later, John Crowley was hired to direct the film adaptation. In August 2017, Warner Bros. finalized a deal with Amazon Studios to co-finance the adaptation, where Amazon would invest in more than a third of the project's budget and obtain streaming rights to the picture on its Prime service, while Warner Bros. would distribute the film in theaters worldwide.
On October 4, 2017, after a two-month casting search, Ansel Elgort was selected to portray the lead role of Theodore "Theo" Decker, following his breakout turn in Baby Driver. On the same day, cinematographer Roger Deakins revealed to Variety that The Goldfinch is his next project after Blade Runner 2049. Later that month, in light of his recent performance in Dunkirk, Aneurin Barnard was cast as Boris. On November 15, Sarah Paulson was cast as Xandra. By late November, Trevor Gureckis was hired as the film's composer. In December 2017, Willa Fitzgerald and Ashleigh Cummings joined the cast. During the same month, Kelley Dixon from Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul was enlisted to be the film's editor.[better source needed] In January 2018, Jeffrey Wright, Luke Wilson, Finn Wolfhard, and Luke Kleintank joined the cast. Later that month, the rest of the cast was announced as principal production commenced.
Footage from the film was first shown at CinemaCon on April 2, 2019. First official images were released on May 28, 2019, as well as the first official teaser poster of the film. The first official trailer was released on May 29, 2019. About six months prior to its release, following test screenings, Warner Bros. knew the film would possibly perform poorly and in-turn "dramatically" trimmed their perspective marketing plan.
The Goldfinch had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 8, 2019. It was theatrically released in the United States on September 13, 2019, after previously being set for October 11.
As of September 22, 2019[update], The Goldfinch has grossed $4.6 million in the United States and Canada, and $1 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $5.6 million, against a production budget of around $45 million.
In the United States and Canada, the film was released alongside Hustlers, and was originally projected to gross $5–8 million from 2,542 theaters in its opening weekend. However after making just $870,000 on its first day, estimates were lowered to below $3 million. It went on to debut to just $2.6 million, the sixth-worst saturated opening of all-time for a film playing on over 2,500 screens. Following its poor opening, many publications had already labeled the film a box-office bomb, and estimated it would lose as much as $50 million ($25–30 million for Warner Bros. and $16–18 million for Amazon Studios). The film plunged 71% in its second weekend to $770,000.
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On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 25% based on 148 reviews, with an average rating of 4.48/10. The site's critical consensus reads: "Beautifully filmed yet mostly inert, The Goldfinch mishandles its source material, flattening a complex narrative into a largely uninvolving disappointment." On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 40 out of 100, based on 38 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B" on an A+ to F scale.
Writing for the New York Times, A.O. Scott said the film "looks and sounds like a movie without quite being one. It's more like a Pinterest page or a piece of fan art, the record of an enthusiasm that is, to the outside observer, indistinguishable from confusion." Peter Travers of Rolling Stone called it "a botch job for the ages" and said it "appears to be adapting the Cliff’s Notes version of the book instead of the book itself, producing an unplayable series of scene snippets".
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