Maria Altman sought to regain a world famous painting of her aunt plundered by the Nazis during World War II. She did so not just to regain what was rightfully hers, but also to obtain some measure of justice for the death, destruction, and massive art theft perpetrated by the Nazis.Written by
Elyse J. Factor
A WWII true story drama that deserves to be told on the screen. Helen Mirren gives yet another astounding performance and I was pleasantly surprised by Ryan Reynolds. What would attract audiences to WOMAN IN GOLD is its David Vs. Goliath story, everybody loves a story about an underdog taking on the impossible and that's what WOMAN IN GOLD essentially is.
Directed by Simon Curtis who gave us "My Week With Marilyn" four years ago, Helen Mirren plays an elderly Jewish woman named Maria Altmann who sixty years after she fled Vienna, Austria to escape the Nazis, starts her uphill legal battles to retrieve a valuable painting that was seized by the Nazis, a painting that is now in the possession of a museum in Austria. A young lawyer, Randy Schoenberg (Ryan Reynolds) helps Maria in her quest that receives resistance from the Austrian establishment. All the while her quest forces Maria to finally confront her past WWII provides a ton of stories for cinemas to depict, they will never run out of WWII materials, this one tackles the fact that thousands of artwork and paintings, that were stolen by Nazis, to this day, have never been restored to their rightful owners. Maria's story is just one of the thousands, and I think it's fascinating that WOMAN IN GOLD basically says that yes, sometimes we need to leave the past where it belongs, the past, but when the past committed a great deal of injustice on us, one can't just easily dismiss it and simply use 'the past' as an excuse to not pursue justice. It's obvious too from Helen Mirren's performance, Helen understands that Maria carries a certain guilt all these years, guilt that she blames herself for abandoning her family and abandoning their possessions. Mirren is excellent at presenting us this tortured conflicted soul, caught between being haunted by the past and the desperate need to forget and move on. And Ryan Reynolds holds his ground as the young persistent lawyer. I think people don't give Ryan enough credit because he's a heartthrob, but the man can pass as a struggling family man with strong conviction. I think WOMAN IN GOLD is an important film, unfortunately I doubt that it would be remembered during award season mainly because we're still fresh from another Weinstein Company's drama, "Philomena" a couple of years ago which also showed an elderly woman accompanied by a young lad, both on a crusade for the truth.
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