Woman in Gold
Starring Ryan Reynolds, Helen Mirren, Daniel Brühl, Katie Holmes, Max Irons, Jonathan Pryce, Frances Fisher
Following in the footsteps of “Philomena” or “Erin Brockovich”, “Woman in Gold” delivers a powerful story about injustice that dates all the way back to the Nazi’s. “The past is asking something of the present”. Based on the incredible true story, Helen Mirren returns to fill the role of the bossy tight lipped female as she did last year with “The Hundred Foot Journey”. Mirren has found her own unique film niche and one of the few consistently working actresses over 65. Ryan Reynolds takes a huge detour from action and comic book adaptations to lend his talent (and fake teeth) to something worthwhile. “Woman in Gold” works so well thanks to first time screenwriter Alexi Kaye Campbell, she gives the audience a reason to get angry and continue watching.
During the Nazi takeover in Vienna, The Altman family was robbed of their freedom, property, and also their art. Gustav Klimt’s portrait of “Aunt Adele” which hung in the living room of the Altman house would be removed by the Nazi’s. They even changed the name to ‘Lady in Gold’ to make it less Jewish. After the war, the painting was illegally turned over to Oesterreichse Gallerie Belveder, becoming the country’s most famous work of art; “The Mona Lisa of Austra”. Maria Altman (Mirren) has decided she wants the painting of her beloved Aunt Adele back in the family. She family friend Randol Schoenberg (Reynolds) to challenge the museum and the country of Austria in American court to retrieve what is rightfully hers.
Both Reynolds and Mirren bring these roles to life, although neither deliver award worthy performances.
“People forget, especially the young,” Maria explains to young Schoenberg why she is determined to right a wrong but also set a precedent. The film is a bit of a crusade like Philomena Lee searching for her lost son against the cruelty of the Catholic Church or Erin Brockovich exposing PG&E’s corrupt and toxic practices. It’s another story of a determined woman facing extreme difficulty in the name of justice. “We didn’t come here to eat cake,” Mirren’s character spouts with great pleasure, personifying why she was the best choice for the role.
It’s based on the beloved book and we don’t get enough of these true stories where citizen’s go up against a system and win. There is something innately compelling about stories of real people proving the justice system can work depending on how hard you work for it. Both Reynolds and Mirren bring these roles to life, although neither deliver award worthy performances. Woman in Gold is another reminder of atrocities committed in the past and one woman’s crusade to find peace.
A crowd pleaser for those interested in art, history and especially justice.