Here’s a colloquialism that’s just as blatantly trite as it is profoundly inaccurate: “no news is good news.” In fact, only GOOD news is good news, and no news is hell when you’re waiting for updates on your favorite adaptations. We need more Donna Tartt, and not even the whopping 800 pages of The Goldfinch can sate us. Fortunately, it won’t have to: the film will be released on September 19, 2019. Less fortunately, the trailer hasn’t dropped yet. But limited CinemaCon audiences got a sneak preview this past Tuesday, and the news is definitely killer—this ambitious bildungsroman appears to be a faithful adaptation of its Pulitzer Prize-winning source material.
Given that Tartt has written three books over her thirty-year career, this adaptation may well have to sate us for at least five more years. Donna Tartt knows how to take her time: The Goldfinch was an eleven-year venture long enough that, at its staggering 784 pages, might take some of us eleven years to read. Of course, this bad news is also the good news: Tartt’s level of involvement with her work means that, although the wait time for the next novel is significant, the novel itself is to die for. On the subject of dying: plenty of her characters do. And that brings us right back to The Goldfinch, a literary epic that opens as, let’s just say, explosively as it concludes.
For those of us not familiar with this dark, sweeping, and frequently Dickensian tale of art, tragedy, and drug-related shenanigans, I have two points. Point 1—acquaint yourself. Point 2—directly related to point one. The novel’s blurb is below:
It begins with a boy. Theo Decker, a thirteen-year-old New Yorker, miraculously survives an accident that kills his mother. Abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. Bewildered by his strange new home on Park Avenue, disturbed by schoolmates who don’t know how to talk to him, and tormented above all by his unbearable longing for his mother, he clings to one thing that reminds him of her: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the underworld of art.
As an adult, Theo moves silkily between the drawing rooms of the rich and the dusty labyrinth of an antiques store where he works. He is alienated and in love-and at the center of a narrowing, ever more dangerous circle.
The Goldfinch combines vivid characters, mesmerizing language, and suspense, while plumbing with a philosopher’s calm the deepest mysteries of love, identity, and art. It is an old-fashioned story of loss and obsession, survival and self-invention, and the ruthless machinations of fate.
The film will star a slew of household names: Ansel Elgort, Finn Wolfhard, and Sarah Paulson. The film itself is sure to become one, rife with the grit and intrigue inherent in all its settings—New York, Las Vegas, Amsterdam.
After the trailer debut, lead actor Ansel Elgort said what fans were thinking (that is, what they were thinking besides holy shit). With “John Crowley directing it and Roger Deakins who had just won the Oscar for Blade Runner,” he emphasized, “[he] knew they would be able to capture Donna Tartt’s tone, and that was so important.” The film has exceeded Elgort’s own expectations. Reflecting on the work as a whole, he says that while he hopes “whatever drew all those people to that book will also draw them to the movie, [he thinks] they will… because [the directors] did a pretty great job capturing that tone and telling this epic story.”
It would be pretty great if we could get a look at this film soon! Until then, we’ll wait for the official trailer.
Featured Image Via Variety.