13-year-old Theodore “Theo” Decker loses his mother in a terrorist bombing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art while the pair are admiring a priceless painting. Theo swipes the oil painting and spends the rest of the film clinging on to the stolen souvenir—his one tangible connection to his mother as he navigates through adolescent to adulthood.
This screen adaptation of Donna Tartt’s bestseller of the same name, which won the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, is a melodramatic movie filled with grief, guilt, reinvention and redemption.
Directed by BAFTA Award winner John Crowley (“Brooklyn”), Theo is played by Ansel Elgort (“Baby Driver”). Finn Wolfhard plays a young Russian boy he befriends, Nicole Kidman plays the matriarch of a wealthy family who initially takes him in before his alcoholic father (Luke Wilson) whisks him off to Las Vegas and Jeffrey Wright rounds off the main cast as Hobie, an antiques dealer and restorer who becomes a major influence in Theo’s life.
(L-r) NICOLE KIDMAN as Mrs. Barbour and OAKES FEGLEY.
Exceedingly long and extremely melodramatic, this coming-of-age tale takes audiences from the Upper East Side of New York to the exurbs of Las Vegas and Amsterdam where it initially starts off. Crowley’s attempt to cram 700 pages of storytelling into a two-and a half hour movie moving back and forth between the two time periods in Theo’s life and cutting between the past and the present is at times tedious to watch. Weaving between two time periods, spaced 14 years apart it is a very complicated saga to bring to the big screen.
This book about a child who gets stuck at the point in his life when he lost his mother topped the best seller lists around the globe but this movie adaptation is a firm reminder that some things are best left alone.
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