I saw John Crowley‘s The Goldfinch (Warner Bros., 9.13) last week. Due respect to fans of Donna Tartt’s Pulitzer Prize-winning 2013 novel, but I immediately sensed a lack of cinematic oxygen — no allure, intrigue or fascination. I immediately wanted to leave the theatre, see something else. Maybe get some hot food on Venice Blvd. or hike around Benedict Canyon. Or maybe just leap on the motorcycle and go.
I certainly wanted to escape the presence of Oakes Fegley, whose “cute little boy with glasses” routine rubbed me the wrong way and then some.
It’s been mentioned that Tartt’s 784-page book, which is about a young boy’s meandering, years-long adventures on the antique and art-theft circuit after suffering through a Manhattan museum bombing and the resultant death of his mother, should have been adapted into a Netflix or Amazon miniseries (six or seven hours, say) rather than a 149-minute theatrical film. Maybe.
All I knew is, I didn’t want to watch it. The movie felt flat, dull, inert. I mentioned a few weeks ago that I tend to have difficulty with trauma-recovery dramas, especially those involving terrorism. But I also have difficulty with movies in which Nicole Kidman plays a Manhattan woman of wealth and sensitivity who cares…oh, forget it. Kidman’s practiced “sensitivity” annoys like a dripping bathtub faucet at 3 am, or like a jackhammer.
Ansel Elgort plays the 20something version of Fegley’s Theo Decker character. I’m sorry but the 25 year-old actor made a mistake in agreeing to star in this thing. It will do nothing but detract from his reputation. Then again he’ll star next year as “Tony” in Steven Spielberg‘s West Side Story. So there’s that.