“The Goldfinch” (Warner Bros./Amazon)
By Catholic News Service
Patchy drama in which both the adolescence (Oakes Fegley) and the adulthood (Ansel Elgort) of an antiques dealer are overshadowed by his mother’s tragic death in the bombing of New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art in the immediate aftermath of which he rescued the 17th-century Dutch masterpiece of the title from the rubble, subsequently concealing his possession of it for years. His trauma also affects the matriarch (Nicole Kidman) of the wealthy family that takes him in, his lowlife dad (Luke Wilson), the furniture restorer (Jeffrey Wright) who becomes his mentor and two childhood friends (Aimee Laurence and Finn Wolfhard) with whom he later reunites (Ashleigh Cummings and Aneurin Barnard).
Director John Crowley’s adaptation of Donna Tartt’s Pulitzer Prize-winning 2013 bestseller initially succeeds in sustaining interest by keeping viewers guessing. But it drifts into the doldrums about halfway through its overlong running time and only perks up periodically thereafter. Its ultimate message can also be said to be in tension with Scriptural values since it suggests that good consequences can sometimes result from wrongdoing, though through most of the story characters yearn to make up for past mistakes.
A suicide theme, brief physical child abuse, cohabitation, benignly viewed shoplifting, underage narcotics use, drinking and smoking, an implied homosexual relationship, several profanities, numerous rough and crude terms. The Catholic News Service classification is A-III — adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R — restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.