Theodore Decker’s passage to adulthood is a wavering, intriguing account
Interestingly, The Goldfinch, in this particular case, refers to a bird, a painting, and a novel – on top of being the title of this movie.
Published in 2013, The Goldfinch is a novel written by American author Donna Tartt, detailing the tale of one Theodore “Theo” Decker as he trudges through life. The story not only netted her the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in the following year, but charted a course to the silver screen as well.
John Crowley took the directing reins of this motion picture, which was released in 2019. While Oakes Fegley plays a young Theo, Ansel Elgort (you might have spotted him behind the wheel of a red Subaru in Baby Driver) takes over as the older version of the starring role.
During a visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, a bomb detonation on the premises takes the life of Theo’s mother and leaves the teenage boy’s life changed forever. As the dust from the blast settles, Theo is asked by an older man to take the The Goldfinch oil painting and keep it safe. The work of art – which exists in real life and depicts a life-sized chained goldfinch – was created by Dutch artist Carel Fabritius in 1654 and becomes a new fixture of Theo’s existence.
Moving on from the traumatic experience of his mother’s passing doesn’t go easy. He bounces from one place to another, keeping the valuable painting well-hidden even as he encounters numerous people on his journey. Initially, he is taken in by the Barbour family, with Samantha (Nicole Kidman) as a new mother figure, but that doesn’t last long as he is relocated across the country, where he meets Boris (portrayed by Stranger Things star Finn Wolfhard). Boris becomes a close friend and a strong influence on his life, but not all of his persuasions stem from good.
As the years wear on, Theo’s path strays from the straight and narrow quite a bit, and his coming-of-age transition is far from smooth. All the while, the 13in-by-9in painting makes its presence felt, an uneasy secret he conceals from the world.
If you’re staying at a Vision Four partner hotel, make sure to tune into the Vision Four TV network where this movie is playing from this month on!
Check out another movie which is also on the network, Motherless Brooklyn.