One of my favorite books is "The Goldfinch" by Donna Tart, so needless to say I have been extremely excited for the movie adaption to be released. Ansel Elgort, known for his roles in "The Fault in Our Stars" and "Baby Driver" was casted as the grown version of the protagonist, Theo, and Finn Wolfhard, who became popular off his starring role in the Netflix series "Stranger Things" was casted as the younger version of Theo's childhood best friend, Boris. I love both Ansel and Finn as actors, and the fact that they were to depict two of my favorite characters from the novel increased my anticipation for the release of the movie.
The novel is the story of a young boy named Theo who loses his mother in a terrorist attack in a New York City museum, and subsequently bounces around from caretaker to caretaker until he is old enough to live on his own. He grows up haunted by the tragedy of his mother's death as well as by his father's abusive parenting style, but the true tension of the novel lies in the fact that at the start, after the museum explosion, Theo is urged by a dying man to save a painting of a goldfinch from the wreckage. Too stressed to return it in the aftermath of his mother's death, Theo ends up holding onto the painting for many years, until powers of circumstance take it away from him. Donna Tart writes of his trauma but also of his anxiety and depression that stem from his worry that he has removed something immortal from history, and that it is now too late to return it.
I saw the movie a few weeks ago with my mother, and I was honestly not disappointed. Critics, however, did not review it well, and said that in its attempt to be true to the book, it dragged on for too long, while losing the essence of the book's magic and literary power. Some would say that a good movie adaption occurs when the movie is inspired by the book, but take its own risks and leaps which allow it to stand alone as an independent work of creativity. I do agree with this to a degree, but then there are always the people who complain when the movie is too different from the book as well. Sometimes directors can never win.
I think it's impossible to completely capture the incredible work Donna Tart produced, because her words have a talent for producing feelings and emotions that no one else can. Cinema is also a moving medium to express a person's experience of life, but the power of "The Goldfinch" came solely from Donna Tart, and that is impossible to replicate. I enjoyed seeing my favorite book come to life on screen, and I didn't mind that it didn't match the novel's effect on me exactly, because I didn't expect it to. To me, it's fun to see something you loved to read shown to you in a visual manner, and I appreciated how true it was to the story.
So if you loved "The Goldfinch" like I did, perhaps don't go into the movie with expectations for it to match the novel's power, but try to enjoy the experience you do get. It's worth it.