Turning a critically acclaimed novel into an equally critically acclaimed film isn’t easy, and sometimes it leads to disastrous results. Just look at The Goldfinch.
Based on the 2013 novel of the same name, the Pulitzer Prize winning book follows a boy named Theo from adolescence to adulthood. After surviving a terrorist attack at an art museum that killed his mother, Theo takes a small painting from the museum called The Goldfinch with him and holds on to it for the rest of his troubled life.
Image Via Amazon
The film adaptation of The Goldfinch released on September 13th and has plenty of prestige behind it. It was directed by John Crowly, director of the critically acclaimed adaptation of the novel Brooklyn. It featured an all star cast consisting of Ansel Elgort, Sarah Paulson, Luke Wilson, Jeffery Wright, Finn Wolfhard, and Nicole Kidman. And to top it off, the film has its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival a week before release.
Image Via NM Film News
Unfortunately, none of that added to a successful film. The Goldfinch earned negative reviews from critics and bombed at the box office. It has been reported that the film could lose up to $50 million for the studios that financed it.
Many attribute the poor performance of the film to the challenges of adapting the novel. At over seven-hundred pages and told in an unreliable first-person narrative that spans several decades, the story of The Goldfinch is a complicated one that the film doesn’t convey properly by flashing back and forth between time periods. In addition, critics felt that the characters were underdeveloped and hard to sympathize with.
It’s always a shame when a great novel gets lost in translation on the big screen.
Judi Dench and Josh Gad are set to star in the adaptation of Artemis Fowl. Set over the course of eight books, the first features our hero Artemis after he kidnaps an elf-fairy and holds her for a hefty, hefty ransom to help build back his family’s fortune. His dad, who is also a criminal, has been missing for quite some time as well. This sci-fi, fantasy tale was first published in 2001, and it was a hit amongst middle grade and young adult readers. It is astounding that it took this long to get the movie, but we can’t wait for this one to come out August 9th!
Kristen Wiig and Cate Blanchett are set to star in this adaptation when it hits the big screen on August 9th! The story is that of an anxiety-plagued mother, who hates everyone and everything until one day she caves from the pressure and suddenly packs up and leaves. Everyone, including her fifteen-year-old daughter, are left trying to figure out where she went and why she left. The book was originally published in 2013, and it was nominated for a Goodreads Choice Award for Humor.
When this book came out in 2013, it was impossible to not see someone reading it on the train or overhear someone else talking about it. The book was an instant success, taking home the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2014. Ansel Elgort and Luke Wilson are both set to star in the feature film this coming October. The story takes place over a decade, focusing on the coming of age of a young man whose mother dies from a terrorist attack in an art museum. This paves the way to a series of unfortunate events in his life, including moving in with his alcoholic father and stealing prized artwork. What I’m saying is if you haven’t read this one yet, make sure you get to it before this hits the big screen! It is a doozy.
This is the closest we will get, for now anyway, to a female James Bond! After her entire family dies in a plane crash, a woman discovers that this was no accident, but a premeditated terrorist attack. She decides to leave her life of prostitution behind and become part of the Intelligence Agency. She becomes the assassin she needs to be in order to avenge her family’s death and take out every last person involved with the attack. Blake Lively is to star alongside Jude Law in this juicy thriller, set to hit the big screen November 22nd!
You may be in the camp that says we don’t need another Little Women adaptation, but what if I told you Emma Watson was set to star alongside Saoirse Ronan and Meryl Streep? The star-studded cast is sure to make for a great film on its own. Add in the truly beautiful story Alcott penned in 1868 and it becomes irresistible. Taking place during the Civil War, it tells the story of four sisters, Mary, Jo, Beth, and Amy, as they make their way through childhood and into the next stages of their lives, dealing with the good, the bad, and the ugly. It is one of the most heartwarming tales, and I can’t wait to see what these beautiful women do with the story!
Donna Tartt’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Goldfinch is a story about loss. The main character, Theodore “Theo” Decker loses his mother when a bomb explodes while the pair are visiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art; one of the reasons they were there was to see one of her favorite paintings, The Goldfinch. Theo is able to escape the rubble, with the pricelessDutch painting in hand. It becomes the single most important object in Tartt’s narrative. Her whirlwind coming-of-age tale navigates themes like fate, survival, confusion and what it means to let go.
In 2013 Tartt’s novel took the world by storm—spending over thirty weeks on the New York Times bestseller list even with a handful of mixed reviews at its back. Now (if you didn’t already know) the 2013 bestseller has been made into a film starring Ansel Elgort as its protagonist. Yesterday, USA Today displayed various first look images from the production and today they premiered its first trailer, featured below:
With a theatrical release date of September 13th, Elgort predicts that audiences will engage that film in much the same way as its source material—he had this to say to USA Today:
“It’s a very powerful and emotional coming-of-age story told from a personal point of view,” Elgort says. “It touches on the themes we all experience at one time or another – everything from loss, guilt, deception and betrayal to love, hope, friendship, and redemption.”
The film has been directed by John Crowley and also stars Nicole Kidman (Theo’s surrogate mother, Mrs. Barbour), Oakes Fegley (young Theo), Jeffery Wright (the antique collector Hobie), Luke Wilson (Theo’s deadbeat dad Larry) and Sarah Paulson (as his dad’s new girlfriend Xandra). In preparation for her role, Nicole Kidman had this to say of her initial reading experience:
“really an experience of letting go, giving in to the storytelling current as it unfolds like bends in a river. It was a rare and immersive pleasure and partly what made the Odyssey, both the book and the film, so extraordinary.”
The adaptation will take a nonlinear storytelling approach; it will focus on two time periods in Theo’s life:
“We move around a lot more impressionistically to suggest that the man that you meet at the start of the story is not in a very good place,” Director John Crowley says. “It’s a very interesting study in how an individual’s relationship to his own past and his sense of his past can shift.”
Warner Bros. Pictures and Amazon Studios have also released a first look at the poster for the film which you can see below.
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.
It has just been brought to my attention that Finn Wolfhard of Stranger Things fame has officially joined the cast of the upcoming adaptation of Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch. He will play Young Boris, as I correctly guessed he would.
The plot follows Theo Decker (Elgort) who, after surviving a terrorist attack on an art museum that claims the life of his mother, is sucked into the criminal underworld and embarks on a life of art forgery. The action sprawls from New York to Las Vegas and back again, spanning Theo’s childhood and young adult life. While living with his deadbeat dad in Vegas after his mother’s death, Theo meets Boris (Wolfhard and Barnard), a petty criminal with whom he bonds and remains friends into adulthood.
The Goldfinch is one of my favorite books and I fully support Wolfhard’s casting, as he, given his excellent performances in both Stranger Things and IT, I trust him with the role of my beloved Boris. Don’t screw it up, Finn.