A WOMAN IN GOLD really glitters. It is the true story of Maria Altmann, a feisty octogenarian Jewish refugee, who takes on the Austrian government to recover 5 Klimpt paintings confiscated by the Nazis during World War II that she believes rightfully belong to her. Randol Schoenberg, a young lawyer played by Ryan Reynolds represents Maria through the many legal trials and tribulations to secure the paintings, especially the Adele Bloch-Bauer I painting known as the Woman in Gold. Maria’s aunt Adele sat for the portrait.
Helen Mirren stars as Maria Altmann. Mirren is one of the greatest actresses of our times and her performance in WOMAN IN GOLD proves that. She is phenomenal. Ryan Reynolds provides a surprisingly moving performance that mirrors Mirren’s.
The film has cameos by several well known actors. Jonathan Pryce plays a Supreme Court Judge. Jeremy Iron’s son is Fritz. Elizabeth McGovern who we know as Lady Cora Crawley, Countess of Grantham, on Downton Abbey plays a judge. She also happens to be the wife of the Director Simon Curtis,
The script written by Alexi Kaye Campbell is strong, well-written and straight forward story telling. When we were almost moved to tears, there were just enough funny lines to keep it from getting maudlin. Campbell used flashbacks to tell the story of Maria and her husband’s escape from the Nazi’s after the 1938 Austrian Anschluss. The young Maria was brilliantly played by Tatiana Maslany.
During the scenes where the Nazi’s were publicly humiliating Jews and confiscating their property, I couldn’t help but think about how today’s terrorists are exactly like the Nazi’s with their senseless killings in the name of religion. We never seem to learn how to coexist and live in peace. Evil is always lurking near.
I loved this movie, so did the audience. The audience clapped at the end of the film and everyone I talked with after the film’s screening at Plaza Frontenac had nothing but golden responses. My only regret is that the film came out so early in the year. I am afraid that when it comes time to nominate films and actors for the Academy Awards, the Academy members will forget this film. I would nominate Mirren, Reynolds, Campbell, Curtis, and the movie. They deserve it.
The Telegraph’s contributing movie critic Mary Cox lives in Wood River and is a member of the St. Louis Film Critics Association, who also occasionally writes about film-related topics, studied film at the University of California, Los Angeles, and worked in L.A. with various directors and industry professionals. She can be reached at email@example.com.