If you asked me what I thought about “The Goldfinch” after watching the movie, the first thing I’d tell you is it’s a wild ride.
The film is an adaptation of Donna Tartt’s Pulitzer Award-winning novel of the same title. It revolves around Theo Decker (played by Ansel Elgort), who lost his mother in a terrorist bombing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and his attachment to a painting called “The Goldfinch,” which was the last thing he saw before losing his mother. It’s a turbulent coming-of-age story filled grief, guilt, self-discovery, friendship, love, and redemption.
As mentioned (and without spoiling too much), it takes you on a ride from Theo’s adolescence until his complicated adulthood. He also emphasizes throughout the film that everything bad that happened in his life, including his mom’s death, is because of him and “The Goldfinch.” (Also an observation: The painting, which shows a bird chained on his perch, is a representation of Theo’s PTSD and his attachment to his guilt.)
But Theo isn’t entirely alone in the film. In fact, he has three women to thank in shaping who he is and guiding him through his redemption journey. You can also see how his attachment issues play into his relationships with some of them. (Be warned: If you haven’t read the book or watched the film, you might stumble upon minor spoilers.)
Samantha Barbour (Nicole Kidman)
After his mother’s death, Theo is taken in by his best friend’s family, the Barbours. Mrs. Barbour takes a liking to him and considers him as one of her own. Her calmness and welcoming demeanor is a nice contrast to the chaos Theo is feeling after the bombing. Even as an adult who’s going through several problems, he considers the Barbour home as one of his safe havens in New York.
Pippa (Aimee Laurence/Ashleigh Cummings)
Aside from “The Goldfinch,” one of the last things Theo saw before the bombing was a redheaded girl named Pippa, who later becomes his unrequited love. Just like how Theo is chained to his grief and guilt, he also has an unhealthy attachment to Pippa. The good side is she is a good friend and also a safe haven for Theo, especially since she is also a survivor and probably the only person who understands what he’s going through.
Kitsey Barbour (Willa Fitzgerald)
Kitsey is one of Theo’s childhood bullies in the Barbour household who also becomes his girlfriend as an adult. This can also be a sign of how the Barbours play a huge role as Theo’s safe haven since Kitsey is the first girl he falls in love with who isn’t connected to the bombing.
“The Goldfinch” has received mixed reviews—mostly negative—from critics online. But you can still watch it if you like stories that strike your emotions and also have you sitting at the edge of your seat as you root for Theo.
Photos courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures
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