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.