starring Ansel Elgort, Oakes Fegley, Aneurin Barnard, Nicole Kidman
screenplay by Peter Straughan, based on the novel by Donna Tartt
directed by John Crowley
by Angelo Muredda How do you solve a problem like The Goldfinch, Donna Tartt's infinitely Instagrammable, stridently "literary" Pulitzer Prize winner? That's the riddle behind Brooklyn helmer John Crowley's flop-sweating adaptation, which strives to be faithful to an unruly text but has little formal bombast of its own to justify the second pass. Chasing after a serious tome of dubious merit, the sort of thing that has been called Dickensian largely because it involves a male orphan at the mercy of kind strangers, the nouveau Goldfinch--not to be confused with the so-named painting its protagonist snatches from the rubble of a terrorist attack at the Met in both versions--gets all the warmed-over thematic pronouncements and outré stock characters of the novel and none of the confidence. That makes it one of the most conspicuously flat prestige failures in recent memory, a film only a festival audience paying for the honour of seeing Nicole Kidman gingerly waving up to the balcony could love.