Rare painting of bird stirs intrigue in ‘The Goldfinch”

Jack Petro
Jack Petro

A young lad, Leo, is in a museum in Amsterdam. He thoughtfully gazes at the 1654 painting “The Goldfinch.”

A terrorist bomb goes off. His parents are killed, but in the confusion he is able to rescue the painting.

He carefully wraps it in newspaper and hides it, with the idea of retrieving it at some later time. 

The young Theo, played superbly Oakes Fegley, is being raised by Mrs. Barbour (Nicole Kidman) who dabbles in rearing waifs who show talent in the arts. The scene abruptly jumps to the adult Theo, who now works for his foster mother.  His horn-rimmed eyeglasses carried over from his youth seal the transition.

The adult Theo conjures up his version of the Ponzi Scheme. He finds an artist who can copy the Goldfinch, and then “sells” the masterpiece, sight-unseen, to each of three buyers for fabulous cash prices. He will “keep” the authentic piece for security, using his mother’s reputation as collateral. Each buyer is sworn to silence, which keeps the unseen value inflated.

Kidman (world’s highest paid actress) is a dream to watch. Finn Wolfnard, who plays Boris, a lifetime friend of Theo’s, gives an Oscar nomination performance.

The screen play, based on the tome of a bestselling book, is a mess and gets only a C grade. The movie is currently showing at the Rialto Theater in The Villages.

Villager Jack Petro reviews movies for Villges-News.com.