[ Movie Review] Woman in Gold

GoldDuring the Second World War and the occupation of Austria the Nazi Party stole what was to become known as the largest art theft history has ever known. Woman in Gold is the story of one determined woman’s fight to get back the painting that was her beloved Aunt Adele. Gustav Klimt was a German artist that was commissioned by Ferdinand Bloch-Bauer in the early 1900s to paint his wife the beautiful Adele. It was during the occupation of Austria that the painting was stolen and eventually ended up in the hands of the Austrian Government and hung as a National treasure in the Belvedere Gallery. After the death of her sister Maria Altman ( Helen Mirren) is sorting through items that belonged to her when she comes across letters that belonged to her much-loved Aunt Adele. It leads to the decade long fight to win back the artworks that were stolen from her family. With the help of family friend and the grandson of famous composer Arnold Schoenberg she finds an allay in lawyer Randy Schoenberg ( Ryan Reynolds)  to take her fight for the five paintings all the way to the Supreme court.  With the help of  investigative reporter Hubertus Czernin ( Daniel Bruhl)  they are able to prove that the artworks were never legally given to the Belvedere gallery and are rightfully owned by Maria as the sole heiress to the estate of her family. With every turn the Austrian Government thwart her and in a landmark case she fights to the bitter end to win justice and be reunited with the portrait of her much-loved Aunt Adele, which has become known only as ” Woman in Gold”. Adele_Bloch-Bauer_I_Gustav_Klimt01 In the end though the fight is worth it when Maria wins what is rightfully hers, proving the Will of her Aunt to be invalid and the paintings rightfully hers. It is a victory not only for her but for all families that were robbed by the Nazis during the biggest art theft in history. During the film as Maria returns to Vienna where she fled all those years ago with her husband. In de-saturated colours we come to know of how she grew up, married and then eventually escaped with only the clothes on her back to America. We see her triumphs and her tragedies when she bids farewell to her much-loved parents and the only life she has ever known. It is a clever way to develop the story and create a connection between Maria’s life and the story of the paintings.  It is a clever method of tying the story in and without it the movie may have been rather dry. Director Simon Curtis has used film making techniques expertly to take it to another level giving the viewer a reason to care about Maria’s story. Helen Mirren is delightful as Maria and she brings a certain amount of dry humor and wit to the role. At times she is motherly towards her lawyer making her some what loveable and charming. Ryan Reynolds is passionate as the Randy, who begins the case as more motivated by money at first but realizes the importance of restitution in the end. Katie Holmes make a small appearance as Randy’s wife but it’s not a large part for her. The three central characters in Maria, Randy and Herbertus are where most of the story is centered. As the young Maria in the retrospective Tatiana Maslany is radiant and very beautiful. woman-in-gold-mirren-ryan-xlarge Woman in Gold is a pleasant film that will not only introduce audiences to the famous works of Gustav Klimt but it also makes us stop and remember that whilst the atrocities of the German occupations can never be undone, little by little some wrongs can be made right. It is a delightful story


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