Goldfinch is a Captivating Story, Despite Critic Backlash Goldfinch is a Captivating Story, Despite Critic Backlash

12 Sep , 2019

Why am I the only one who liked Goldfinch?

But seriously, Goldfinch (so far) has really poor reviews. It’s been criticized in every direction - the acting, the storytelling, the pacing. It’s even getting PANNED for being too similar to the book. I’ll admit it, I haven’t read the book. Is that why I liked it? 

In my opinion, trailers looked great. The synopsis sounded interesting. Now that I understand the plot of the movie, I find it a little surprising that this story made its way to becoming a feature length film. It’s extremely contemplative, and I guess it would be fair to call it a bit slowly paced. In fact, I’d argue that the “action-y” scenes towards the end are the least interesting to watch. What I loved were the slower parts of the movie. 

To keep it vague, the movie is about a boy, Theo, who loses his mother and the way his life plays out into his young adult years. Oh, and there’s a painting of a bird. The movie regularly darts between Theo’s childhood and his adult years. I liked this quality. This nonlinear structure plays out in such a way that I found rewarding to watch. Certain qualities of adult Theo would later be explained by something that happened to young Theo. The result is that I really ended up invested in the character, and with each explanation, I felt more connected to him and his story. There was a point towards the end of the movie where I almost cried because I thought the worst would happen. 

My brother would describe this movie as a “thinky movie”. Its contemplative nature means that we are forced to derive meaning from visuals as opposed to dialogue. I feel like it’s been ages since I saw a movie that didn’t force its characters to explain their emotions and motivations to me every ten seconds, so I sort of reveled in the silence. The cast really shines in these silent moments. Exchanges between Theo and temporary caregiver Mrs. Barbour are convincing in their minimalism.

The relationship between Theo and his childhood friend Boris feels authentic, and Theo’s admiration for Hobie really tugs on the heartstrings. The cast here is pretty stacked, and they all do an amazing job. It’s hard to tell an emotional story based primarily on facial expressions and actions, but they are wildly successful. 

Visually, this movie is beautiful. I’m not a fan of shaky cameras or an abundance of closeups, and in Goldfinch we get to see what can happen when a filmmaker puts a camera on a tripod and doesn’t. Freaking. Move it. The effect is fantastic. It’s a long movie with a good few super distinctive settings, and the direction really shows this off. The whole movie is extremely artistic.

Maybe I liked this movie because it was the exact opposite of IT. Maybe I liked this movie because I didn’t read the book. I even told Stu, who saw the movie with me, about the overwhelmingly negative reviews and he responded, “were we just emotional?” I don’t know, maybe we were. But doesn’t that mean the movie succeeded?

Why am I the only one who liked Goldfinch?

But seriously, Goldfinch (so far) has really poor reviews. It’s been criticized in every direction - the acting, the storytelling, the pacing. It’s even getting PANNED for being too similar to the book. I’ll admit it, I haven’t read the book. Is that why I liked it? 

In my opinion, trailers looked great. The synopsis sounded interesting. Now that I understand the plot of the movie, I find it a little surprising that this story made its way to becoming a feature length film. It’s extremely contemplative, and I guess it would be fair to call it a bit slowly paced. In fact, I’d argue that the “action-y” scenes towards the end are the least interesting to watch. What I loved were the slower parts of the movie. 

To keep it vague, the movie is about a boy, Theo, who loses his mother and the way his life plays out into his young adult years. Oh, and there’s a painting of a bird. The movie regularly darts between Theo’s childhood and his adult years. I liked this quality. This nonlinear structure plays out in such a way that I found rewarding to watch. Certain qualities of adult Theo would later be explained by something that happened to young Theo. The result is that I really ended up invested in the character, and with each explanation, I felt more connected to him and his story. There was a point towards the end of the movie where I almost cried because I thought the worst would happen. 

My brother would describe this movie as a “thinky movie”. Its contemplative nature means that we are forced to derive meaning from visuals as opposed to dialogue. I feel like it’s been ages since I saw a movie that didn’t force its characters to explain their emotions and motivations to me every ten seconds, so I sort of reveled in the silence. The cast really shines in these silent moments. Exchanges between Theo and temporary caregiver Mrs. Barbour are convincing in their minimalism.

The relationship between Theo and his childhood friend Boris feels authentic, and Theo’s admiration for Hobie really tugs on the heartstrings. The cast here is pretty stacked, and they all do an amazing job. It’s hard to tell an emotional story based primarily on facial expressions and actions, but they are wildly successful. 

Visually, this movie is beautiful. I’m not a fan of shaky cameras or an abundance of closeups, and in Goldfinch we get to see what can happen when a filmmaker puts a camera on a tripod and doesn’t. Freaking. Move it. The effect is fantastic. It’s a long movie with a good few super distinctive settings, and the direction really shows this off. The whole movie is extremely artistic.

Maybe I liked this movie because it was the exact opposite of IT. Maybe I liked this movie because I didn’t read the book. I even told Stu, who saw the movie with me, about the overwhelmingly negative reviews and he responded, “were we just emotional?” I don’t know, maybe we were. But doesn’t that mean the movie succeeded?

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