Nothing but praise. John Crowley, who directs Nicole Kidman in the upcoming film The Goldfinch, says the A-lister had strong instincts playing her character, a mother, in the film.

The 50-year-old attended The Goldfinch premiere at Toronto International Film Festival recently, along with others from the cast, and had nothing but kind words to say about his lead star. “I don’t know whether it was because she’s a mom but she had a very strong instinct about [her character] Mrs. Barbour and about the relationship with young Oakes that was very impeccably truthful,” the Brooklyn star exclusively told Closer Weekly. “She’s a great actress so she has instincts in all directions, not just as a mom.

John Crowley
Evan Agostini/Invision/AP/Shutterstock

The Oscar winner, 52, also couldn’t but gush about her latest role — that she plays alongside fellow actor Ansel Elgort. “I have an enormous love of art and this is an adult drama and it’s emotional and it’s very smart and I also think it’s talking about … a particular piece of art,” Nicole told Closer and other reporters. “You just like that tiny little painting of the goldfinch and I just love that an image can convey such depth.”

“Love him (Ansel), love him and I can’t wait to see him in West Side Story, but he’s gorgeous in this film as is Oakes [Fegley] — the two of them together,” the Moulin Rouge! star continued. “I think at this stage of my life, it’s like going. Time is precious, moments are previous and I’m just glad to be here and contributing and want to keep going, so yeah just really grateful and I’m determined to enjoy life.”

Nicole Kidman Ansel Elgort Oakes Fegley
Andrew H. Walker/Shutterstock

Nicole may be playing a mother on the big screen, but she’s also a mom in real life — she and her husband, Keith Urban, share two girls, Sunday, 11, and Faith, 8. The Hollywood star also has two grown adopted children, Isabella, 26, and Conner, 24, from a previous relationship to Tom Cruise.

The Goldfinch is out in theaters September 13.

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Reporting by Diana Cooper