Monday, June 27, 2016

Woman in Gold

Helen Mirren, Ryan Reynolds

"Justice is Priceless"


This true story of Maria Altmann, a Jewish American (of Austrian descent) woman's journey to reclaim her family's cherished possessions taken by the Nazis is highly poignant. It can be faulted to sometimes feel like a Hallmark movie of the week yet its main message is very relevant. Surely, the injustice committed during the second World War by the Nazis against the Jews is a very broadly sensitive subject. 

"Woman in Gold" though doesn't aim to highlight the atrocities and simply presents the lengths that Maria (Helen Mirren) went through to claim what is rightfully hers. Flashbacks of her younger days in Vienna are shown in between scenes of present day as she braces herself for a dragging courtroom battle both in the US and in Austria which is ably championed by her young rookie lawyer named Randy Schoenberg (Ryan Reynolds). 

Both Reynolds and Mirren do well in their respective roles and even though the film had a tendency to drag on a bit, it was still an effective narrative. It was quite an eye opener when it comes to the millions of art works which were confiscated during World War II.

Most interesting was the story behind the painting by Gustav Klimt "The Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer" who just happens to be Maria Altmann's aunt. The famous painting which was also known as "The Woman in Gold" due to her glittery attire in the portrait was one of the national treasures of Austria given that Klimt was a much celebrated Austrian artist. So I could understand how difficult it must have been for the Austrian government to simply relinquish this famous painting to its rightful owner. 

This film was much more informative than the disappointing "Monuments Men" which merely wasted the acting talents of its ensemble cast headed by George Clooney.

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