Woman in Gold (Movie 2015)

5 Kernels

Stars:   Helen Mirren as Maria Altmann and Ryan Reynolds as Randol Schoenberg

It’s pretty much a given that if I go see a movie when I’m personally going through emotional times, I will end up crying at the theatre. No matter what other critics think about the story, I will give it five kernels because I blubbered like a baby at the end.  Such is Woman in Gold, so if you are prone to tears bring tissues.
Woman of Gold is one of those movies based on a true story of Maria Altmann, who escaped Austria after Hilter took over and the persecution of Jewish citizens began.  Born in Vienna and raised there with her family, she was the niece of Adele Bloch-Bauer. Her beautiful aunt was the model in the painting below.
The story begins with the death of Maria’s sister, which resurrects the pain and loss of the past. The portrait of her aunt done by Gustav Klimt once belonged to her family, as well as other pieces of art.  When the Nazis invaded Austria, they took everything of value from Jewish families. Some of the works of art were placed by the Nazis in the Austrian State Gallery, whereupon after the war they remained and were never returned to their original owners.

Maria would like to retrieve the picture of her aunt and engages Randol Schoenberg, an attorney, to help win an uphill battle that spanned a number of years all the way to the Supreme Court of the United States. As the story unfolds, the audience is taken back through flashbacks as Maria recalls the horrors of the past. Shortly after her wedding, the Nazis arrive and life for the Jews of Vienna turn into a dark nightmare.  She is fortunate enough to escape the country with her new husband, but her parents remain behind trapped and unable to leave.

Any role that Helen Mirren takes turns into gold, and this particular movie is no different. Her counterpart who plays her younger version, Tatiana Gabrielle Maslany, does a superb job. Maria’s young husband, played by Max Irons, is quite handsome and an opera singer. However, even though they are a stunning young couple, the world should never forget the persecution and terror the Jewish population endured during World War II.  Those scenes, powerfully done, tug at your heart, as you feel their fear trying to flee their homeland who has turned against them as citizens.

Ryan Reynolds is very good in his role as Maria’s attorney and probably the best acting performance I’ve seen on his part.

Needless to say, I found Woman in Gold a touching film. It’s a story of injustice and justice that will probably leave a tear in your eye at the end too.

The Proposal (Movie 2009)

Stars:  Sandra Bullock, Ryan Reynolds, Bette White, Mary Steenburgen, and Craig Nelson
Here we go!  It’s another rehashed plot, romantic fluff, mildly entertaining movie that I frankly enjoyed.  It has a great cast, silly premise, and happy ending.
It’s about two people thrown together that despise one another.  A high-powered, overbearing diva of a boss in the publishing industry – Sandra Bullock; and a handsome, kind, assistant who seeks a career doing what he loves.  Their relationship as boss/subservient is pretty pathetic, until the big-powered career woman is faced with being deported back to Canada because her visa expired. (You think she would have been on top of that one!)  Since her assistant does everything for her, why not have him marry her so she can stay in the country? Sounds reasonable.  A few threats, the fear of losing his job, and you have a somewhat crazy plot.
Let me just say that Ryan Reynolds doesn’t do enough movies, especially with his shirt off. After all, he was voted the sexiest man alive in 2010 by People Magazine.  I really like him, and I think he could be king of romantic comedy rather than a green lantern if he did more movies.  He’s engaging, nice eye candy, and has that charismatic sweetheart attraction.  It seems as though he’d rather hide behind the screen doing voice acting of late, and his movies on the horizon don’t interest me.
Sandra is a bit different in this role, playing the mean employer, who thinks the world revolves around her life and career.  High-powered and used to getting what she demands, her character is much different.  The only similarities are the ending of the movie that is a mirror of “While You Were Sleeping,” which contains the altar confession and love of a family she never had.  In fact, it’s so similar, it’s a bit plagiarist freaky.
The hoot of the movie is Bette White, who plays the eccentric and feisty grandmother of the clan. Let’s face it, that old woman is a classy lady, who shows us that laughter is good for your health.  Does she ever not smile?  
Well, the plot is a bit rehashed, but it’s good light entertainment. The high point of the movie is, of course, naked Ryan Reynolds and stark naked Sandra Bullock running into each other chest to chest, with Sandra falling on top of him.  Quite hilarious, which I’m sure they must have had a great time filming the scene.  It’s a scream watching Sandra beforehand running around with a wash cloth over her privates and her arms across her boobs.  Ryan undresses to show off six pack abs. Of course, my focal point in that scene stayed upon his buff naked body.
In any event, I give more than the general public.  Heck, the scenery in Alaska at least deserves four kernels.