Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Movie with Abe: Woman in Gold

Woman in Gold
Directed by Simon Curtis
Released April 10, 2015

A story of perseverance and commitment can often be just as inspiring as whatever it was that was set out to be achieved. Seeing justice served is a complicated matter, one that can take a long time and be emotionally and physically exhausting. Such a story is on display in “Woman in Gold,” which recounts one woman’s arduous fight to be reunited with a painting of her aunt taken from her family many years earlier, a simple request and desire turned into something much, much bigger and eventually involving the governments of two countries, both engaged in the determination of whether her claims hold water.

Maria Altmann (Helen Mirren) sees an old friend at her sister’s funeral, and mentions to her that she would like to speak to a lawyer after looking through her sister’s belongings. Eager young Randy Schoenberg (Ryan Reynolds), who has just gotten a job at a law firm after a failed attempt at going out on his own, arrives and seems unimpressed at her summary of the theft of the painting by the Nazis and its current residence in a major Austrian art museum. Randy can’t seem to shake it, however, and he soon begins pursuing her cause, something which exponentially becomes more majestic in nature.

“Woman in Gold” is a film that tells two stories at once, one set in 1998, as Maria and Randy fight to get the painting deemed her property, and one set during the Holocaust, as Nazi rule begins to overtake Vienna on the eve of Maria’s wedding to her darling husband Fritz (Max Irons). The elder Maria is a fiery, proper woman who constantly takes her lawyer to task for not taking himself seriously enough. Her younger self (Tatiana Maslany) is a sweet-natured idealist, one who values her family above everything. Watching what happens to Maria makes the importance of being reunited with just one of her relatives so much more poignant.

This film includes few surprises or unpredictable plot points, but it’s not meant to, being a dramatization of real-life events based on a book written about a monumental case involving reparations and international art. As far as sentimental, affirming films go, this is a strong and involving cinematic realization of an endearing story. Mirren and Reynolds fit their roles well, and Maslany, the dependable and talented star of “Orphan Black,” leads a solid cast of actors portraying Maria’s family. This film is a passionate and sustaining story that takes a worthwhile piece of history and turns it into an energizing, heartwarming film.


No comments: