Monday, April 6, 2015

Woman in Gold

Woman in Gold - 109 min - PG-13

This film tells the story of Maria Altmann. At the age of 80 she sues the Austrian Government to recover a painting that was stolen by the Nazis. This movie took me by surprise. I have been busy so it kind of snuck in under my radar. I was pleased with the story and the chemistry between the stars. It was an enjoyable watch to see a woman confront her past and bring closure to some of the great wrongs she has suffered. The Woman in Gold gets a green light.

In 1938 Maria Altman (Tatiana Maslany) and her husband, Fritz (Max Irons) escape Vienna, Austria and the Nazis leaving behind her family. She goes to America and builds a new life. Her Uncle knew the famous painter Gustav Klimt who did a portrait of Maria's aunt. When Maria left the portrait and other paintings were taken from her family by the Nazis. In 2000 Maria (Helen Mirren) asks attorney Randol Schoenberg (Ryan Reynolds) to help her recover the family painting from the Austrian Government.

I really like the performance of Ryan Reynolds in this film. He was relatable and moving while bringing the struggle of Mr. Schoenberg to the screen. He chose to leave a promising career at a prestigious law firm to help Mrs. Altmann. He had to fight the Austrian government and had to keep his one and only client motivated to keep fighting. This is the kind of hero role he excels at.

I have been leery of Ryan Reynolds after the debacle that was Green Lantern. I know the poor story was not his fault but he still has the taint of that movie hanging over his head. I don't want to rehash the many reasons why that movie failed-- just know that he reminds me of that film. It was good to see him in a different role and something that reminds me that in his element he is a good performer.

Helen Mirren is majestic on screen and always a joy to watch. I have to admit I am smitten by her talent. No surprise that she can play the strength and determination of this character and also embody the frailty and frustration of the struggle even with her charming senses of humor. Mirren’s performance highlights the subtle but powerful spirit but also the weight of the fight she is in.

There are moments in the film where the story drags a bit because the events didn't happen over a week. The film had to also present the other things in their lives that are going on. It's hard to strike a good balance to keep the story moving along and give it scope. This movie could have been tighter but the strength of story keeps you interested.

If you are in the mood for a biopic you won’t go wrong spending some time with this story. It has some interesting sub plots that are truly touching. Besides… who doesn't love a story that shows that the little guy taking on big government.

What was your favorite BioPic?

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