The Goldfinch vs Pilsudski or the tale of the two Borys

I decided to treat myself last night and I went to the movies (Cineworld Unlimited perks means I can see as many as I want, when I want).
Earlier this week I went to see The Kitchen (and was severely disappointed by the story and feminist agenda – even though the 70s backdrop was on point) and I needed something better. Something to make me think, yeah, that was a good movie.

Friday night choices were:

The Goldfinch

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Set at a staggering 2h 29min, I was expecting a lot more from this movie than a “coming of age” story. It fell so flat that I started looking at the exit when some of the scenes looked like they were going to drag on forever.

The story is slow going and it jumps at points between the Young Theo Decker and the old one played by Ansel Elgort. Probably one of the reasons I rated this movie so low is that I don’t particularily think Ansel is a good actor. I’ve seen him in Divergent as the dorky brother, in The Fault in Our Stars as the dorky teen crush and Baby Driver as the cool headed music playing dorky driver. The Young Theo Decker (played by Oakes Fegley )though was a pleasure to watch – he managed to convey stoicism and a wide range of emotions not present in his older counterpart. He’s pre-teen in the books but looks about middle-school age in the movie… making his struggle to cope with his sexuality and curious development a bit weird to watch.

EFgSJHJWkAE8Jyh.jpgHis friendship with Boris (here’s the first Boris of the evening) is something you would see in middle school with no weird undertones. So when Boris kissed him when he ran away… I was shocked. There had been no inkling of love between them, no sexual currents, no doey eyes, just two best buds. Juvenile soon-to-be delinquents buds, but buds nonetheless.

00.jpgThe story of Theo is unique. Early for a school meeting about some cigarettes that were found in his possession, him and his mother (that we get to see at the end of the movie), enter a museum. As they were admiring different works of art, they get separated and a bomb goes off killing a lot of people, including his mother. Theo survives and steals (at the urge of one of the men nearby) a very famous picture of a Goldfinch, a painting that survived across the ages being passed down from hand to hand after the painter died in a coal explosion at 32.

Theo has a bit of a shit dad, who squandered his money and then tried to squander Theo’s inheritance too. His step-mom Xandra (with an X as she explains chewing gum) used to be his mistress while his dad was still married and is so much white trash that she makes you wonder what his dad saw in her (kudos to Sarah Paulson from American Horror Story). Theo, once he ran away, he goes to live with the gay lover of the man he saw die in the museum and becomes a somewhat terrible antiques dealer – selling reproductions as originals..

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In a chance meeting, he gets together with the family that took him in after the explosion and nearly marries the daughter before Boris appears in the picture again.

The movie is a mess. It’s trying to show too much – Theo is a drug addict. Theo is an unreliable antiques dealer (which is a career killer in the first place) and Theo does not know whom he loves. The rich heiress from his adoptive family, his childhood friend whom he’d corresponded for years that moved to London or Boris.

I really don’t understand where all this LGBT posts are coming from. The movie, while showing off a great friendship between the two boys, never implied that Theo is gay, or that Boris is gay. Even in their adult life, they don’t appear interested in each other that way. But all the Twitter tweets are like… Goldfinch is soo saaaad…. Pride forever… WHAT?

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The painting featured in the novel, The Goldfinch, is work by Carel Fabritius from 1654. It belongs to the collection of the Mauritshu is in The Hague, Netherlands. Author Donna Tartt first saw the painting 20 years before the release of the book.

It bored the hell out of me, had no meaningful message to convey other than “Don’t steal shit that ain’t yours”. The Russian accents are bad! English people trying to speak with an accent just sound silly… There is an abundance of sweaters in the movie and the only person who’s half way decently dress is Nicole Kidman who does a little fashion show worthy of Channel.

Most of the characters lack depth and their motives and behavior seems enigmatic. A few figures are introduced into the storyline and later unceremoniously forgotten.

The fault of this film’s demise lies squarely in the mishandled screenplay adaptation by Peter Straughan. Rather than streamline or eliminate the many unnecessary subplots, the film’s penchant for chance meetings are merely unbelievable plot devices that push along the action. The Goldfinch is overloaded with these contrivances and far fetched coincidences, all of which, never add up.

Pilsudski

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The second Borys of the evening is the lead role in the Polish pre-war drama called “Piłsudski”. Prior to last night I had no idea who Piłsudski was or what role he played in the fight for the independence of Poland.  Set at the start of the 20th century, we follow this charismatic person from his famous escape from a mental asylum all the way to the post-war glory.

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The actual person

This is an adventurous movie, a passionate romance, the story showing a side of the marshal, which has never been known before.

 

The picture was directed by Michał Rosa, and the role of Piłsudski was played by Borys Szyc. His partners include Magdalena Boczarska and Kinga Dębska.

“Adamant on the battlefield, in private life I give in to passion, torn between two women – wife and lover” – we read in the materials about the film.

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The mistress

And that’s exactly what Józef Piłsudski will be doing. We get to see him love his first wife Maria Piłsudska, and his mistress, Aleksandra Szczerbińska, who later becomes his second wife once his divorce was granted.

 

The movie does a lot more than focus on his complicated relationships with women. We will also see him in despair after the tragic death of his beloved stepdaughter Wanda Juszkiewiczówna, for whom he was a caring and loving stepfather for years.

I think that for many viewers it is a completely unknown face of the Marshal – says Michał Rosa.

The film begins in 1901, when the later head of the Polish state begins to put into practice his great plan to regain independence after his escape from the head doctors. From rags to riches, from a notable newcomer to a ruler of an independent nation.

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I really liked this movie. It was 1h 48min long and I was never bored. Never thinking… when is this going to end.

With a low rating on IMDB – I am happy to declare Piłsudski the absolute winner of last night. It educated me about Polish history, about his rulers, his men, based on true historical facts with enough drama not to make it a documentary. Kudos

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