Woman in Gold – A Review

A fan of Helen Mirren, I make a point of seeing all her films. She usually exceeds all expectations and such was the case with her superb portrayal of Maria Altmann, an elderly Jewish woman intent on seeking justice and reclaiming her heritage. I was pleasantly surprised by Ryan Reynolds who delivered a stellar performance as Randy Schoenberg, the inexperienced but determined young lawyer who helps Maria fight a lengthy court battle that takes the unlikely duo from Vienna to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Klimt’s famous painting, “Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer 1” is at the heart of Maria’s determination to recover property illegally stolen by the Nazis. Considered the Mona Lisa of Austria, the painting has hung for decades in the National Museum of the Belvedere Palace. It is not surprising that the Austrian establishment presents so much resistance. But Maria has a special connection with her beloved Aunt Adele (figure in the painting) and persuades an initially reluctant Randy to take on her case. As the legal battle drags on, both characters experience financial and emotional strain. But Randy bounces back and persuades Maria to keep fighting.

Set in Austria and the United States, the film also includes flashbacks to World War II. Tatiana Maslany skillfully portrays young Maria during this turbulent period. Good supporting performances were also delivered by Daniel Brühl, Katie Holmes, Elizabeth McGovern, and Jonathon Pryce.

Several days have passed and I’m still thinking about this film. Definitely worth seeing.


12 responses to “Woman in Gold – A Review

  1. Thank you, Joanne, for sharing your experience in watching Woman in Gold. My husband was an international medical student at the University of Vienna during the German occupation. Together, we wrote about his experiences in Vienna at that time in a biographical novel–Legacy of Change: The Saga of a Turkish Family from Empire to Republic. Art and other treasures were also stolen from the Dutch people during the German occupation of Holland as well as housing, food, medical supplies, and even their bicycles–their only form of transportation. In my international novel, Lattices of Love, I describe the Dutch Hunger Winter caused by the German’s blockade of the southern cities of Holland and it’s effect on the health of the ones who survived, effects that were passed on to their children. In my novel, No Greater Love, that will be released in June 2015, one of the secondary characters is an old man who had been sent from Leiden at the age of 5 by his Jewish-Dutch father to an uncle in the U.S. He is the only member of his family to survive. He believes that he must reclaim what the Nazis took from his family in order to honor his father.

    I really appreciate your sharing your response to Woman in Gold with your readers. I am making plans to see it.

    Eris http://www.erisfield.com

  2. I’ve been thinking about this story too and I haven’t even seen it yet. Looking forward to though. 🙂 Thanks for the post, Joanne. Love Katie Holmes.

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