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TIFF 2019 Review: The Goldfinch

A teenager feels guilty over his mother’s death during a museum bombing and keeps a priceless memento in memory of her.

While in an Amsterdam hotel room, Theo is in the process of committing suicide through a drug overdose.  There are childhood flashbacks to a terrorist bombing which killed his mother, the time he spent with the Barbour family, the reappearance of his estranged father which took him to Las Vegas, and his friendship with Boris Pavlikovsky.

There have been critiques stating that the movie does not do the book justice; however, distilling 700 pages into two and a half hours of storytelling is no easy task.  Rather than adopt the linear approach of the source material, the past and present are intercut reflecting the fragmented memory of Theo.  The cinematography is gorgeous courtesy of Roger Deakins but never distracting and the music composed by Trevor Gureckis adds to the moody atmosphere.

The major accomplishment for filmmaker John Crowley is the cast that he has assembled, in the particular for the adult and teenage roles of Theo (Ansel Elgort, Oakes Fegley), Boris (Aneurin Barnard, Finn Wolfhard) and Pippa (Ashleigh Cummings, Aimee Laurence) as they have genuine onscreen chemistry together.  In regards to Theo, Boris provides much-needed humour with his fragmented English and dry wit while Pippa conveys a deep sadness and affection.  Nicole Kidman is able to convey a restrained affection as Mrs. Barbour and Jeffrey Wright portrays a kindly mentor in James Hobart.  The weak links are Luke Owen and Sarah Paulson who come across as being cliché in their roles of the estranged father and his girlfriend.

Check out all of our TIFF coverage
Trevor Hogg is a freelance video editor and writer who currently resides in Canada; he can be found at LinkedIn.

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