The Goldfinch

The Goldfinch ★★★

Before I quickly analyze how this film could never have been a successful adaptation, I need to express how undeniably sexy Aneurin Barnard is. I mean, his role in Thirteen was beautiful. Anyways, here we go.

How can you take 1000 words of simply exquisite novelizing that took an entire decade to complete, and produce a successful two hour film? It’s not possible, because even when a spectacular adaptation is released, it’s only a mere sliver of the original work. As we’ve recently learned, miniseries adaptations have a lot more room for the plot to grow.

This film was honestly jarring for me, like being thrown on a rollercoaster tour of Donna Tartt’s novel. Like a Youtube video preparing me for an essay on a novel I’ve never read. Why oh why could HBO not have snatched this as a miniseries?

The Goldfinch was the most beautiful book I’ve ever read, and I can truly say that every single word contributed to a story bigger than just Theodore Decker. Boris, Mrs. Barbour, Hobie and Pippa became characters that completed an entire experience, wrapped up in a decently lengthy novel. The uncommonly complex bond between Boris and Theo is manipulative and destructive because of decisions they both make, and yet their friendship is rooted so deeply as children. You're going to think I'm kidding, I've been obsessed with The Host by Stephenie Meyer since I was thirteen because of the relationship between Melanie and Wanda when sharing one body. And that fierce relationship reminds me of these lead characters.

Which probably does not make people want to read it but I think we've established that Stephenie Meyer is an incredible writer with just wildly messy story telling.

How could you translate that into such a short script? The film actually did a shockingly good job at sticking to the original content, though wildly out of order to find it’s footing in a cinematic narrative. Especially leaving a lot of the ending out which was some of the most tense parts of the novel. It didn’t work very well because literally years of these characters lives did not have time to play out on screen. The impact of Andy Barbour’s death was basically meaningless, all of the time that Theo spent romanticizing about Pippa didn’t exist and Boris’ friendship could never be boiled down to so little interaction.

The most important thing that ruined this film for me was the fact that long winded rants analyzing The Goldfinch couldn’t fit into a film. It would be incredibly boring and time consuming, yet without Theodore’s musing, the stakes aren’t high enough. His mother's death consumes him, he never stops being reminded of how bright her light was. The painting is tied to that so closely, and it was lacking in the film. Again, because they didn't have time. The painting doesn’t hold the same significance, and there’s no reason to really care about it.

Okay, now I need to address the horrible script. It’s hilarious because it’s so close to the actual dialogue in the novel, almost a copy. But without spending a very long part of the story getting to understand Boris, his dialogue sounds cheap and forced. It just doesn’t translate, and unfortunately his accent is supposed to sound a bit ridiculous too. Though yes, the accents were horrible and Finn Wolfhard was not trained to actually maintain the accent. In the book, everything is very linear and it comes in Acts. I saw someone compare it to Russian story telling and that's absolutely correct.

As you can tell, I am head over heels for Donna Tartt and her overwhelming impact through words. I’m now starting The Little Friend and I’m already captivated. I'm actually in disbelief that this woman has left no inkling that she is gay somehow. Her beauty, her phenomenal fashion, her patience with words... just gay things, you know?

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