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Jun 04 2019

Yes No Maybe So: "The Goldfinch"

by Ilich Mejía

Before you ask,five times.Five times I've tried to get past the first half of this book.Five times I've had to put it down to rewatch that one extra-good episodeBojack Horsemandrops every season and then forgotten to pick it back up.To seem cultured,I will lie and say I was in the middle of a sixth try when the trailer for the movie dropped.Naturally,I've neglected to pick it back up since because I've been busy picking the trailer apart to decide how I feel about it.Join me in deciding,fellow philistines!


  • If we were to ask Stanley Kubrick or Jonathan Glazer,we'd be told Nicole Kidman's powers are at an all-time high when she's playing a rich Manhattanite and she's at it again.As soon as you see that lamp flick on in the trailer,you know she's about to drop a powerhouse monologue that might steal the whole movie.
  • Cinematography by Roger Deakins is what I believe the kids refer to as a "sext"nowadays.We look forward to seeing how he depicts the city across the time jump.This is a piece about big emotion and Deakins looks to be setting up some beautiful shots to depict the journey of loss of Theodore (Ansel Elgort).


  • Maybe it's not a vote of confidence that if you took away the painting I'd think the moodboard was something like "Extremely Loud and Incredible Close,but make it fash—nah nah,make it exactly the same!" I remember only enough about that movie to make this comparison so...I don't know if that bodes TOO well.John Crowley directedBrooklynwith such earned intimacy and serenity that I wonder if he's up for handling material as different as Donna Tart's minor (it's only 780 pages!) epic.
  • Speaking of epic,an early cut of the movie was reportedly around 2 hours and 20 minutes.Unless Sarah Paulson are kiking about cocktail recipes for 2 hours and 12 of those minutes,I'm gonna struggle.
  • Uh,these graphics are very...PowerPoint chic,huh?Graphic design is definitelysomeone'spassion.


  • He's got a sensitive face so I'm gonna try to say this gently: Anself Elgort,sweetie,this voiceover was ROUGH.This sort of dry,period-Kardashian performance works with a character like Betty Draper,but I'm not so sure how Ansel's ordinarly-wooden approach will help hold up this big a film.I'm sure he'll be at the premieres in great suits.Beautiful suits...
  • Jeffrey Wright!Sarah Paulson!Luke Wilson with long hair!Please don't misuse these gifts...
  • Oh look,another coming-of-age film where the lead jumps into a proverbial pool!What Victoria Grayson throwaway line is shadier,"how extraordinarily crafty of you!"or "aren't you inventive?"I joke!I joke!But yeah this looks boring.

For now,I'm amaybe soif that translates to "will sit through this for the Nicole scenes."I will try to make it through the novel before it drops and see how that changes my stand.

What do you guys things?Excited about the Brooklyn follow-up we've all been waiting for?!

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Reader Comments (25)

Maybe so for me.I was a big fan of Brooklyn,but that was mainly because of Saorsie Ronan.Not sure if Ansel can pull this one off.

Jeffrey Wright!That's how a voiceover should work.

Where does Sarah Paulson find the time?It's like she works in movies during her lunch breaks on Ryan Murphy shows.

June 4,2019 | Unregistered CommenterBiggs

Ugh,this trailer reminds me why I don't read novels!Ponderous,to say the least.

June 4,2019 | Unregistered CommenterJF

I thought Nicole was Laura Linney in that pic for a second.

June 4,2019 | Unregistered Commentermarkgordonuk

I love Jeffery Wright and Sarah Paulson but anything with Ansel Elgort is a pass.

June 4,2019 | Unregistered CommenterTess

Kidman is stuck in mum roles.

June 4,2019 | Unregistered CommenterYavor

My God how can they turn an 800 page book into a 2 hr 10 min movie?

June 4,2019 | Unregistered CommenterLevity

Yes: Perfume Genius.

No: It looks a bit generic.

June 4,2019 | Unregistered CommenterTim

I'm firmly in the Yes category since I loved the book and I loved Brooklyn,and Deakins is in the mix too - but yeah Elgort gives me pause.To put it mildly.

I'm curious,is Jeffrey Wright in your predictions primarily because it's Jeffrey Wright and it's time for him to finally get a nomination?From the book I'd have thought Aneurin Barnard would have the most dramatic/compelling role (Boris).Wright's role,well,he's get some nice moments,but it's largely quiet one.Although of course in adapting the book that role could be given more oomph.

June 4,2019 | Unregistered CommenterScottC

Sure,the novel is big,but it's a blockbuster it's not bloody Finnegan's Wake.I've seen quite a lot of people online (and now here in the comments!) making a joke,as if lol who wants to read a BOOK?!

I do think this story needs a longer film,so the length isn't a problem for me.I'm not sure what 'PowerPoint chic' means exactly?

June 4,2019 | Unregistered Commenterben1283

Levity: The back half of the page count being a lot of edgelord monologuing probably helps.Cut a lot of that down,and there's not really that much plot/dialogue there.
ScottC: If we're going off the book?I'd say Teen Boris (Finn Wolfhard) and Hobie are where most of the juice is,in terms of supporting roles,at least.Hobie is definitely more of the "imagine how this would play on screen"juice,but it's JUICE regardless from an actors standpoint.

June 4,2019 | Unregistered CommenterVolvagia

This is a classic case of book-to-screen anxiety.I love this novel,it's my favorite American work of the 21st century.It's not a complex story but it's lengthy and I worry that feature film might not have been the best medium.Crowley has earned my trust with Brooklyn (the screenwriter not-so-much,cough*TheSnowman*cough).It took me a long time to get over Eastwood's Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.I can't do it again with The Goldfinch.

June 4,2019 | Unregistered CommenterSawyer

I'm a maybe so and yes,I too got an "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close"vibe from this,too,which is...not a good thing.This one will live or die by the reviews,at least for me.

I read the book and liked but didn't love it.I guess I'd say it's worth finishing but by the same token it felt like it could have been shorter by at least a 100 pages could have been edited out (and yes,I feel that way about a lot of Dickens,too,to which I've seen The Goldfinch least Dickens was actually serialized!).

I did not find the main character all that compelling and remember thinking I'd much rather read a book about Boris (his best friend).So we'll see what Ansel and his younger counterpart are able to do with the role.

June 4,2019 | Unregistered CommenterLynn Lee

Volvagia,that's a good point about "imagine it"JUICE.And you bring up what seems to be the biggest unknown (at least unknown to me) about the movie - when do they switch from the younger to the older actors?Maybe I've been too affected by watching Riverdale and the like,but I'd think they could do that fairly early.But maybe they won't.And then ...well like others here I'm curious to learn how this gets cut down/structured.

June 4,2019 | Unregistered CommenterScottC

Julianne Moore (who seemingly says yes to almost everything) supposedly turned down Kidman's role in this,while Ralph Fiennes turned down Jeffrey Wright's role.

Regardless of that,I think it looks dreary.Where's our yes-no-maybe so on The Kitchen?Now I want to see that!

June 4,2019 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

paulson's role,xandra,is a phenomenal character in the book.reading it i thought when the movie comes along people will fight for this role.then i heard paulson got it--she will work's possible they cut the role way down for the movie,but it could be a standout if they give xandra the attention that (i believe) she deserves.

June 4,2019 | Unregistered CommenterCharles O

Uh...I don't know.I'm going with a maybe.

June 4,2019 | Unregistered Commenterthevoid99

Whe I first saw this I really tought of Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close,but to me that's not a bad thing,since i like'd that movie.
I am really interest in seeing the movie,especially for Deakins work...

June 4,2019 | Unregistered CommenterDoug

Was that music by Perfume Genius?Seemed like it.If so,that's an unqualified yes.Sure,that's just for the trailer,but you have to love the use of a proud,queer indie musician!

June 4,2019 | Unregistered CommenterRV

This is one of my favorite novels of the past decade,but its strongest points are its unbelievably intelligent prose and rich internal life of the main character.Stripped of that,the plot may seem a little too soap opera-ey.But I really do recommend the novel,and I'm not sure a novel this good has ever been turned into an excellent movie.Rare,at least.

Sarah Paulson will have a lot of fun with her character,but I think the Nicole Kidman one may be one of the less interesting parts.

June 4,2019 | Unregistered CommenterMarsha Mason

The release date gives me pause,but the creative team are very talented.Worst case,I say this definitely gets the Cinematography nod.But here's hoping it delivers.

June 5,2019 | Unregistered CommenterAndrew

Yes for Kidman,Paulson,Wrght and the book.- l loved it.

June 5,2019 | Unregistered CommenterJoanne

Why does everyone seem to hate Ansel Elgort?He is a decent actor to me.And this trailer is amazing.

June 5,2019 | Unregistered CommenterMH

You can't sit through a 2 hour and 20 minute movie yet you review movies??Hmmmmm.That's not that long for a movie,many or most Oscar movies are just as long if not longer.

June 5,2019 | Unregistered CommenterAdam

@Adam,yeah but a wide variety of critics and filmgoers argue that usually films don't need to go on for that long.I can't remember the last time I watched a film over 2hrs that I didn't think could use some tightening.

June 6,2019 | Unregistered Commenterkris01

They seem to be dropping trailers everyday now so it's hard to keep up.The novel is so great but this looks boring with the lead and even Nicole miscast.Too bad they didn't make it a miniseries.I hope I'm wrong but it feels way too disengaged.

July 23,2019 | Unregistered CommenterTom Ford

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