The latest in the series of movies six of us watch together, taking turns picking. We've been doing it for seven years, although this is only the 27th movie ... hard to find a date and time we can all make. (Trying this for the first time ... if this works, you can find a Letterboxd version of the list here.)
The Goldfinch is a good example of why our project is a good one. We all have different tastes, and so I end up seeing good movies I might have bypassed otherwise: Argo, American Hustle, Love & Mercy, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. Of course, there's also the time my brother-in-law chose Mr. Peabody & Sherman.
The advance notices on The Goldfinch were not promising. Its Metacritic rating currently sits at 41/100. While I'm happy to watch long movies at home, where I can pause and pee (I've watched two movies recently that are longer than The Goldfinch, one of which, Rocco and His Brothers, I liked OK), I don't look forward to long movies in the theater. This is why I have an app on my phone called RunPee, which suggests the best times to duck out for a minute or two when nature calls. This wasn't particularly encouraging when it came to The Goldfinch ... the app said "This movie was slow paced, making it fairly easy to get 3 Peetimes due to the length of the movie – 2 & 1/2 hours." Which is convenient, but compare it to this, about Hobbs & Shaw: "It was difficult finding decent Peetimes in the 1st half of this movie. There’s a lot going on: action, character development, etc."
Then, in the morning before we left for the movie, Google thought I'd be interested in an article, "‘The Goldfinch’ Bombs Hard at U.S. Box Office".
So, I did two things. First, about an hour before the movie started, I ate an edible. Then, just as the movie started, I took a caffeine tablet. I was ready: high, and awake.
Thus, you can take my comments here with a grain of salt, if you think being high and awake disqualifies me.
The good parts: I didn't fall asleep. I enjoyed Finn Wolfhard. Nicole Kidman did well with an underwritten part. The film looked good.
The rest: It was really long. It made little sense for people like me who had not read the novel. Not all of the acting was as good as Wolfhard and Kidman. And did I mention it was really long?
Sometimes when I don't connect with a movie, I'll think kindly of it because I think the film makers achieved what they set out to accomplish, and chalk my reaction up to taste preferences (the Terrence Malick Rule). But I don't think the rule applies with The Goldfinch, not when you have actors from the film like Sarah Paulson ("In my dream world, they would have made this a four-part miniseries" and Ansel Elgort (who wished the film was a play) suggesting the movie was misguided.