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Review | The Goldfinch

Film is Quicker Read but Book More Fulfilling


For all who loved The Goldfinch the book, you’re going to adore The Goldfinch the movie, despite what the critics are saying. The audience at Rotten Tomatoes holds the edge in judgment over the pros, satisfied with the two-and-a-half hour rendition of a 771-page novel, rich in complexity and depth.

When a book and its characters take hold of readers as Goldfinch has, the film must reach expectations in actors and settings, as well as retain all the best bits from the novel. Goldfinch meets these details in almost all regards, relating the surprising twists in the narrative without losing film-watchers along the way, or any subtlety in revealing the story’s heart.

Paralleling the calm storytelling of Donna Tartt’s book — if not the capturing quality of her writing — the film gives nothing away from its opening encounter with Theo Decker (Ansel Elgort) scrubbing blood from his white shirt as a young man, to meeting him earlier in life during a heart-stopping journey through Manhattan’s child welfare services to a new life in the Las Vegas desert with his dissolute father (Luke Wilson), and yet another life after he’s befriended by Boris (Stranger Things’s Finn Wolfhard).

To say the moviewraps up these disparate elements is to answer if the chicken comes before the egg. But for anyone who’s yet to read or watch The Goldfinch, the film is the quicker read but the book’s more fulfilling.

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