Woman in Gold (2015)
Woman in Gold tells the true story of Marie Altman (Helen Mirren), a Jewish woman who escaped to America during World War II, and how she fought the Austrian government for a famous painting she believes is rightfully hers.
On the surface, the story of Marie Altman is pretty bland and straight forward. She believes that the “Woman in Gold” painting hanging at the Belvedere Hotel in Vienna is that of her aunt and she wants it back. Through the help of amateur lawyer Randol Schoenberg (Ryan Reynolds), they make their way from Art Restitution all the way to the United State Supreme Court in order to get the painting back. This aspect of the movie is the driving force, however, it is as it sounds – boring. There really isn’t anything exciting about the struggle we see as these two people fight for what is rightfully theirs, but the ending is well worth it.
What makes this movie more heartful and emotional than most is the back story that is woven into the present day chase for the painting. This is where we see Marie as a young woman and her life in Austria. We see her relationships with her aunt and father and how the paint was created. We see her escape from the Nazis and how she was able to get to America. This side of the story is what makes the painting have meaning and connection. As an audience, we no longer see the painting as simply “art” but as representation of this woman’s heritage and family.
I believe that if it weren’t for Helen Mirren and Ryan Reynolds, this movie would be a “nice” watch, but these two A-list actors put their talents to work and give a moving performance. For those of you that saw Philomena (2013) and enjoyed it, you will enjoy this movie immensely. I was pleasently surpried by Woman in Gold! Co-starring Daniel Bruhl, Katie Holmes, Tatiana Maslany, Max Irons, and Charles Dance.
7/10 Stars – Helen Mirren and Ryan Reynolds elevate this touching and emotional story from “nice” to “rewarding.”