A Dazzling Restitution

Woman in Gold

woman_in_gold_ver2

Director: Simon Curtis

Cast: Helen Mirren, Ryan Reynolds, Katie Holmes, Daniel Bruhl, Jonathan Pryce, Frances Fisher, Max Irons, Elizabeth McGovern, Charles Dance, Tatiana Maslany, Moritz Bleibtreu

My Week with Marilyn director Simon Curtis, follows up the success of that film with the brilliant Woman in Gold about art restitution based on a true account of how Maria Altmann an Austrian refugee fought to get Gustav Klimt’s famous and dazzling portrait of her aunt, Woman in Gold restored to her as the rightful owner after it was illegally seized by the Nazi’s in Vienna during the rise of the Third Reich in Europe.

Oscar winner Helen Mirren (The Queen) heads up an eclectic cast as Maria Altmann who approaches a young lawyer also of Austrian descent, Randy Schoenberg wonderfully played by Ryan Reynolds in one of his best screen performances to date to take on the Austrian government in reclaiming the gorgeous painting, which is in fact a family heirloom, now hanging in the Belvedere gallery in Vienna, Austria.

Woman in Gold is set in 1998 in Los Angeles with frequent flashbacks to the late 1930’s in Vienna which also charts the daring escape of young Maria, boldly played by Tatiana Maslany and her fiancé played by Max Irons (The Riot Club) from the Nazi’s who eventually flee to America, leaving her parents and all their wealth and possessions behind.

Director Simon Curtis deals with the thorny and sensitive issue of Art restitution in a nuanced and intelligent way which gives balance to both sides of this deeply complex case. Like George Clooney’s Monument’s Men which dealt also with the Nazi’s sacking Europe of its artistic treasures, Woman in Gold specifically focuses on this case and the exquisite painting Woman in Gold by the illustrious Austrian Cubist artist Gustav Klimt, which is like the Mona Lisa of Austria and a sign of national identity.

The fact that the value of the painting is worth well over R100 million dollars also adds impetus to Randy’s fight but more than that is the emotional toll it takes on both characters as they fight for justice amidst contemporary bigotry and the rightful ownership of a hugely recognizable painting.

woman_in_gold_ver3

Woman in Gold is ably assisted by a wonderful supporting cast including Daniel Bruhl (Rush), Katie Holmes (Pieces of April), Frances Fisher (The Lincoln Lawyer, Titanic), Charles Dance (White Mischief) and Jonathan Pryce (Carrington, Tomorrow Never Dies) but it is essentially held together by the superb performances of Mirren and Reynolds who despite their age difference make the film a fun, informative and deeply emotional quest to correctly addresses the wrongs of the past, in the name of art restitution and justice.

The fact that the international legal fight goes to the Supreme Court, which takes both Schoenberg and Altmann to Washington DC raises the level of the film along with the apparent assistance of the heir to the Estee Lauder fortune.

Woman in Gold is a fascinating, must see film for art lovers, and lovers of intelligent historical films which addresses a very topical and complex issue of restitution, which in this case dazzles with beauty. Highly recommended viewing.

Comments are closed.

Film Directors & Festivals
Reviews and Awards
Review Calender
August 2015
M T W T F S S
 12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930
31  
  • WTFilms Launches ‘Apache: Gang of Paris’ at Unifrance Rendez-Vous
    Paris-based sales agent WTFilms, which specializes in genre movies, is presenting Romain Quirot’s sophomore feature film, “Apache: Gang of Paris,” at the Unifrance Rendez-Vous in Paris. The pic is an ambitious revenge movie set in early 20th century Paris, when rival gangs were wreaking havoc. The term apache was coined in Paris at the time, […]
    Leo Barraclough
  • Gaspar Noe on ‘Vortex’ and the Changing World of Cinema
    Argentine helmer Gaspar Noé’s latest feature “Vortex” world premiered in Cannes, where it was greeted with a standing ovation and critical acclaim. Variety spoke to the director at the Unifrance Rendez-vous in Paris this week about the film. “Vortex,” lensed during the 2020 lockdown, follows an elderly couple in a Paris apartment. Shot entirely in […]
    Leo Barraclough
  • Jordan Cashmyer, ’16 and Pregnant’ Alum, Dies at 26
    Jordan Cashmyer, a woman who was featured on MTV’s “16 and Pregnant” in 2014, died in Maryland on Sunday. She was 26 years old. News of Cashmyer’s death was shared by her mother, Jessica Cashmyer, through a post written on the Facebook account of the late Dennis M. Cashmyer Jr., her husband and Jordan’s father. […]
    J. Kim Murphy
  • Environmental Filmmaker Cyril Dion Plans ‘Animal’ Follow-Up, First Fiction Project ‘Le Grand Vertige’
    Filmmaker and environmental activist Cyril Dion is planning a follow-up documentary to his Cannes-selected documentary “Animal” as well as his first fiction feature film, adapted from Pierre Ducrozet’s eco-themed novel, “Le Grand Vertige.” Dion first rose to international prominence with his 2015 environmental documentary “Tomorrow,” in which he and co-director Mélanie Laurent highlighted important initiatives […]
    Leo Barraclough
  • Olivier Dahan on Simone Veil Biopic ‘Simone, A Woman of the Century’
    Olivier Dahan’s “Simone, A Woman of the Century” completes the trilogy he began with the Edith Piaf biopic “La Vie en Rose,” starring Marion Cotillard, and “Grace of Monaco,” starring Nicole Kidman. Dahan spoke with Variety during the Unifrance Rendezvous in Paris, where the film had its market premiere. “Simone,” starring Elsa Zylberstein (“Un plus […]
    Leo Barraclough
  • Read More
    Different providers offer different cell phones, so take a look at the options from each provider to choose the right one for you. You may also want to look into any promotions that the providers have to offer, such as free cell phones in exchange for signing a contract. Tags: 2gmhass90