Saturday, April 11, 2015

The Woman in Gold has heart, humor and history

Movie:  The Woman in Gold

PG-13, 1 hour 50 minutes

Grade:  A-

In a Nutshell:  This is a fascinating, true story about a woman’s and nation's journey toward justice and peace after the Holocaust.   The film has heart, humor, and history as the David vs. Goliath story unfolds.

Helen Mirren and Ryan Reynolds demonstrate a quirky chemistry as two Americans with unique and prestigious roots in Austria.

The value of art is not monetary, but about the feelings it evokes when we experience it.  Great art should stir our humanity, don't you think?  Film is art too and this one does just that very well.

Uplifting Theme:
·       “Your only enemy is fear.” – Adele
·         Maria wants restitution and defines it as: “to return something to its original state.”  She learns that we can never be the same after life’s experiences.
*  "Remember us."  - Maria's father.    We need to never remember what happened to the world during the horrific Holocaust so that we don't repeat it.  We also need to see some of the atrocity's that are still happening in the world today and stop them.

Things I liked:
·         The woman in gold may actually be the talented Helen Mirren, winner of the prestigious golden statue named Oscar.  She always brings grace, elegance and wise maturity to any role.  I simply adore her.  She’s believable as a moody Austrian who struggles with pain and pride.   
·         I loved that Casting found an actress (Antje Traue) who very closely resembles the real Adele Bloch-Bauer who was portrayed in Gustav Klimpt's famous painting “Woman in Gold.”  Maria learns that Adele’s name was removed from the title of the artwork by the Nazis to hide the fact that she was Jewish, exclaiming “Her identity was stolen as well.”
·         The plot may be simple, but it’s still a remarkable story.

Things I didn’t like:
·         Helen Mirren wears dark contact lenses to make her look more like the real Maria Altmann.  I wasn’t bothered by it, but some people say they were distracted.  Whatever.  If that’s the worst thing you can say about her performance…
·         The court scenes didn't quite reach the status and thrill of To Kill a Mockingbird , but they're still inspiring.
·         Katie Holmes is sleepy in bed during most of her scenes in the movie.  They could have cast me in that role. 
·         Sadly, there was no one in the audience under the age of 50 when I watched this movie.  All you young ones out there may feel the need for more speed, but you’re missing a little gem in this film.  Wow, that sentence made me sound so old.

Funny lines:
·         “Against my better judgement, I think I like you.” – Randy
·         “Smile Maria.  It’s good to exercise your facial muscles once a year.” – Maria’s father
·         “My sister finally decided to move in with me.  The only problem is she didn’t do it until she’s dead.” – Maria
·         “This is like a James Bond film and you’re Sean Connery.” – Maria to Randy
·         “I want to go to Austria with my daughter some day.  She loves kangaroos.” – Dumb clerk

Interesting lines:
·         “I have to keep these memories alive, you see, especially because the young forget.” – Maria
·         “What’s in it for you?” Randy
“Let’s just say it’s a very particular brand of patriotism.” – Austrian journalist
·         “It’s hard to believe Hitler applied to be an art student here.” – Randy
“I wish they had accepted him.” – Maria

Tips for Parents:
·         Children may be bored with the legalese in court scenes and the slow drama.  The subject matter of the Holocaust is dark, although the film doesn’t show some of the horrors of the time like other Holocaust movies do.
·         1 F-bomb, but very little “other” profanity.

Want to know more?
I studied abroad in Spain and traveled to Vienna back in the 80’s before the Judenplatz Holocaust memorial was built.  It is a somber, haunting structure that makes you feel uncomfortable intentionally.  It honors the 65,000 murdered Austrian Jews during WWII.

If you’re fascinated by the history of artwork stolen by the Nazis during WWII, you’ll enjoy learning more in the film The Monuments Men   You can read my review of that movie here.   The Rape of Europa can be watched for free on Netflix right now!


To learn more about the artwork of Gustav Klimt, check out the following:

Post a Comment