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  • The Woman in Gold is based on the true story about a woman, Maria Altmann (Helen Mirren), and her lawyer, Randol Schoenberg (Ryan Reynolds), as they attempt to reclaim ownership of an extremely valuable painting (along with a few more) form the Austrian government nearly fifty years after it was stolen by the Nazis. This film has three distinct parts that intertwine through the duration of the show. First, there is a family dynamic that focuses on the emotional stress of the current situation on everyone's personal lives. There is a strong connection between Randol and Maria that grows over time and is given time to grow in these segments. Second, there are flashbacks that dive deeper into Maria's past and emphasize the importance of the artwork as well as explore parallels between the past and the present. Finally there is the trial itself, which is where the action of the conflict lies. This is the least important, yet still necessary part of the story. The percentage of time given to these segments would be around 40/40/20, respectively. While you might be surprised how much of the story takes place in the past, it really does drive the plot. There are many white-knuckle scenes and heart wrenching moments that really add to the film. The past is just as important as the present in this movie, and that is exactly what the film is trying to say. Helen Mirren, as always, was amazing in this film. She was subtle and drove many of the scenes that required raw emotion. Ryan Reynolds was also very good and his role in this film might have been his best performance (from what I have seen). Actually, all of the actors did a fantastic job here. Everyone was on there A-Game and gave it everything they had. There was great chemistry between Mirren and Reynolds which made their characters' connection even more compelling. Reynolds was able to subtly change his character as the case slowly changed his motivations. While, yes, there are a few clichéd scenes that were put in there for emotional levity and drama, but they don't really take much away, if anything. This was an excellent film and I highly recommend it.
  • Greetings again from the darkness. The responsibility of the filmmaker when the project is "based on a true story" is elevated when the story has significant historical relevance and blends such elements as art, identity, justice and international law. Add to those the quest of a remarkable woman whose family was ripped apart by Nazi insurgents, and more than a history lesson, it becomes a poignant personal story.

    Helen Mirren portrays Maria Altmann, the woman who emigrated to the United States by fleeing her Austrian homeland during World War II, and leaving behind her beloved family and all possessions. After the death of her sister, Ms. Altmann becomes aware of the family artwork stolen by the Nazi's during the invasion. This is not just any artwork, but multiple pieces from famed Austrian artist Gustav Klimt … including "Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer". See, Adele was Maria's aunt, and the stunning piece (with gold leaf accents) has become "the Mona Lisa of Austria", while hanging for decades in the state gallery.

    The story revolves around Maria's partnering with family friend and upstart attorney Randol Schoenberg (Ryan Reynolds) to take on the nation of Austria and reclaim the (extremely valuable) artwork that was seized illegally so many years ago. They are aided in their mission by an Austrian journalist (played by Daniel Bruhl) who is fighting his own demons. The seven-plus year legal saga is condensed for the big screen and we follow Maria and Randol as they meet with the Austrian art reclamation committee, a federal judge (played by the director's wife Elizabeth McGovern), the U.S. Supreme Court (Jonathan Pryce as Chief Justice), and finally a mediation committee back in Austria. But this is not really a courtroom drama … it's a personal quest for justice and search for identity. What role does family roots and history play in determining who we are today? It's the age old question of past vs. present, only this is seen through the eyes of a woman who has survived what most of us can only imagine.

    Director Simon Curtis (My Week with Marilyn) uses startling flashbacks (with Tatiana Maslany as the younger Maria) to provide glimpses of Maria's childhood through her marriage and subsequent escape. We get to know her family, including some scenes featuring Aunt Adele (Antje Traue), and Maria's father and uncle (Henry Goodman, Allan Corduner). We understand this family's place in society and just how dramatically they were impacted by the Nazi takeover.

    Helen Mirren delivers yet another exceptional performance and manages to pull off the snappy lines without an ounce of schmaltz, while also capturing the emotional turmoil Ms. Altmann endures. Director Curtis and writer Alexi Kaye Campbell round off some of the rough edges and inject enough humor to prevent this from being the gut-wrenching process it probably was in real life. This approach makes the film, the story and the characters more relatable for most movie goers … and it's quite an enjoyable look at a fascinating woman and a pretty remarkable underdog story.
  • just saw WOMAN IN GOLD and i must be of an entirely different demographic than some other reviewers, but i enjoyed it mightily. The audience obviously did also, as there was laughter and applause at various spots. The acting is wonderful and the story quite straightforward but done with both heart and a sense of humor. there is excellent use of flashback and lovely shots of Vienna. Angelenos will get a kick out of some of the recognizable LA landmarks. I have no idea of what the requested ten lines means, whether it is sentences or actual lines. It's a lovely movie. Not sophisticated but informative, entertaining and thought provoking with excellent acting from both the principals and supporting actors.
  • When I review a movie, I ask myself but one question: How entertaining is it? Of course, such a thing is always a matter of opinion and depends on an individual's personal background, personality, tastes, preferences, interests, experiences, and so forth. As a reviewer who likes all kinds of movies and hopes these reviews will be helpful to all kinds of moviegoers, I'm as objective and open-minded as I can be. Regardless of its genre, its subject matter or its background, all I expect from a movie is to enjoy it. This attitude allows me the freedom to like movies of any and all kinds, regardless of whether others think that I'm "supposed" to like them or not. Did the movie's comedy make me laugh, did its a drama draw me in and make me care, did its thrilling moments… thrill me? Etc., etc. You get the point. I expect a film to entertain me – to make me FEEL something. But the best movies also inform, educate, enlighten and uplift. Oh, and bonus points for originality, creativity, and technical and artistic excellence. When you have the pleasure of seeing a film with all of those characteristics, it is a "must see". It is a treasure. It is… art. "Woman in Gold" (PG-13, 1:49) is such a film.

    "Woman in Gold" is based on the true story of Maria Altmann, who, as a young woman (played by Tatiana Maslany of "Orphan Black" fame) fled her beloved Austria as the Nazi noose was tightening around the necks of her Jewish countrymen. Encouraged by her family and with her new husband by her side, she left behind the people, places and possessions she loved. One of those possessions was a Gustav Klimt painting of her dear aunt Adele (Antje Traue), a painting which would soon be taken by the Nazis and, after World War II, end up in a Vienna art museum where it became so revered that one character calls it "the Mona Lisa of Austria".

    When Maria (played as an old woman by Dame Helen Mirren) loses her sister, she discovers some letters that, along with 1990s changes in Austrian law, make her think that she might reclaim what once belonged to her family. She enlists the help of Randol Schoenberg (Ryan Reynolds), a friend's son, to look into the matter for her. Randy is a young attorney who has just started a new job and whose wife (Katie Holmes) is concerned about the impact of a lengthy case on their growing family, but he becomes obsessed with Maria's cause. In Austria, Randy gains the assistance of a local journalist (Daniel Brühl), but this long and complicated bureaucratic and legal struggle may prove to be too much for any of them, or even all of them. If you ever start to think that this lengthy and emotionally taxing fight is merely about the extremely high value of the painting or even one woman's need for closure, you'll remember Maria ending a conversation about her motivations with "and then there's justice." "Woman in Gold" has something for everyone. It's an unusually dramatic history lesson, a riveting drama, an involving mystery, a fascinating legal thriller and a touching story of families and friendships. All members of the very talented cast bring their "A game", the writing is excellent and the editing is superb. All these factors come together in a narrative which transitions seamlessly between the story's present and its past, doing so as effectively as I've ever seen it done. The opening of the movie, a short scene involving the creation of the painting, effortlessly but effectively communicates how special the painting of the title really is. The film shows the plight of the Jews in Europe more personally than any film since "Schindler's List", but without being overwrought. It also sheds light on what it meant for a country to capitulate to the Nazis as well as the long-term effects of that chapter in history. Many scenes in the movie are dramatic and suspenseful, but the portion of the film in which Maria and her husband escape Austria is on par with the climactic scenes in Oscar-winning films like "Argo" and "The Sound of Music". Whichever genre or cubby hole that professional critics choose to place this movie in, it rises above most films to which it might be compared.

    Like a great painting, a great film is a joy and an honor to see for yourself. I hope that "Woman in Gold" is remembered when all those gold statuettes are handed out this next awards season. The worth of the movie is, in the end, only my opinion, but this film informed me, educated me, enlightened me, uplifted me, and, as a wonderful work of art, it entertained me. "A+"
  • annfromflag12 April 2015
    Before seeing Woman in Gold, I read three to four reviews, ranging from "ordinary" to "extraordinary movie." I was more than curious, since I am an historian and secondary ed teacher, always looking for excellent historical films that remind us "why" we study history. This film presents a WWII story with superb storytelling. Woman in Gold is about a survivor of World War II, named Maria Altmann, a Viennese who wants a famous family painting by Gustav Klimt returned to her possession since it was stolen by the Nazis. She enlists the help of a family friend, who also has a WWII connection, although he is quite inexperienced for the challenge of taking on the Austrian government. The painting of her aunt is famous for its size, the gold leaf, and its early twentieth century modernity. Even if you are ignorant about art history, this "Mona Lisa" of Austria, the Woman in Gold, is recognizable to almost everyone else. Maria Altmann's connection to this stellar painting by Gustav Klimt is that it reminds her not only of her aunt, but the family, friends, and life style that she lost forever when she fled Vienna with little more than the clothes on her back. The fight she and Randy Schoenberg, yes - grandson of Arnold Schoenberg - are about to wage is insurmountable if you have studied recent Austrian attempts to conceal its Nazi past. Think Kurt Waldheim. Woman in Gold is told in two stories, one about the pursuit of justice, and the other flashbacks before and after the Nazis occupied Vienna, showing Maria's lost life. Edited together, you get enough background into the Holocaust to understand Maria Altmann's motivation to seek long-awaited justice not just for herself, but all the other people who lost everything with little to no hope of restitution. The director, screenwriter, set designer, and all the actors did a fabulous job of finding a balance between humor and poignancy. Woman in Gold complements those other wonderful WWII movies, like Downfall, Lucie Aubrac, The Pianist, by showing that WWII history is not dead, that new chapters are being written in the 21st century.
  • Qanqor7 April 2015
    I just got home from seeing this film, and I very much enjoyed it. I've been reading some of the negative reviews and trying to understand what they're on about, but I just don't get it. I think it was a great film and I'm glad I saw it. OK, maybe following all the legal machinations gets a little dry at points, but I'm happy with this. It means that the film makers *respect* the story. This isn't one of those atrocities that claims to be based on history, but in fact plays so fast-and-loose with the facts that what you are getting is almost entirely fiction (yes, "The Imitation Game", I'm looking at *you*). While I don't know the details of the actual history in this case, from what I'm able to make out it seems like this film stays pretty true to the facts. I, for one, am glad they resisted the trend of schmaltzing the thing up.
  • rmart-46-62696416 April 2015
    This movie is just flawless in any category; acting, cinematography, sound, locations, story flow. Helen Mirren is of course the star but everybody else involved were perfect also. Telling the young woman's life story, their hair-raising escape from Nazi occupation, and at the same time describing the red tape involved in trying to get back stolen family property by the Nazi's 50 years prior is just a stunning accomplishment. But, the icing on the cake, which they could have ignored, is how most of the population of Austria (and other European countries) colluded with the Nazi's.

    This is such an incredible movie, it should be required screening in high schools, it should never be forgotten what happens when hate and prejudice team up with apathy. No graphic violence is required to get the message across - classy all the way.
  • My original perception was that this was an indie flick that only played in the art houses because it was an artsy film. the truth is that it's a great film that simply didn't get the luck of the draw when it came with mass distribution. Woman in Gold would be at home with any of the Oscar nominees and contenders and would easily be considered more of an outright crowd pleaser than a film like Danish Girl (which got nominated in acting categories) or Brooklyn (which did make the final cut for Oscar).

    The film is based on an eight-year-long quest by a California-based lawyer of Austrian descent and a longtime family friend from the motherland (the prior relationship between the characters is erased in the adaptation process) to reclaim confiscated art by the Nazis.

    The film's main strength is that it's neither a holocaust story nor is it a standard courtroom drama, but it's a fresh new take on both genres. As for the former, the film feels fresh through its specificity to the Austrian experience and the specificity of a wealthy family. The film is more relatable to the experience of anyone descended of an immigrant who had to leave the old regime. As for the latter, the film's main challenge wasn't showing a guy having his flashy day in court but rather a long slog as it was taking a toll on his life. The film handles this challenge in pacing admirably.

    More than that, the film flies on the strength of its central relationship. You never think of Ryan Reynolds (best known for subversive leading men or a smug action stars) and Helen Mirren as occupying the same universe but the chemistry between the two goes a long way towards making this film transformative.

    The film is a powerful one about remembrance and loss. It teaches that one can't fix the past, but healing those wounds is a noble cause.
  • In Woman in Gold, Helen Mirren, chameleon-like, inhabits the body and personality of Maria Altmann, niece and heir of a prominent Jewish family in pre-WWII Vienna. The family's best-known member today is Maria's aunt Adele, whose portrait Gustav Klimt painted in 1907. The painting was appropriated during the Nazi era and for many years hung in the Austrian state's famous Belvedere Gallery, as "the Mona Lisa of Vienna." After her sister's death, Maria finds correspondence suggesting the painting was perhaps not left to the government of Austria in her aunt's will, as it claimed, and therefore not rightfully Austrian property. She hires a family friend's son, Randol Schoenberg (played by Ryan Reynolds), a young down-on-his-luck Los Angeles attorney, to look into the matter. Schoenberg, grandson of the composer—another refugee from Nazified Austria—is out of touch with his family's past and slow to recognize the significance of Maria's quest. Initially unwilling to take on the case, he is gradually drawn into it. Their bureaucratic battles with stonewalling Austrian officials soon unite the pair, and they are joined by a crusading Austrian journalist, Hubertus Czernin. Formidable legal and bureaucratic hurdles stand in the way of Maria being reuniting with the painting—"When you look at this painting, you see a work of art," Marie tells a reunification commission, "I see my aunt." The story is another in a long line of mostly not happy stories of stolen art works in World War II, brought to renewed public awareness by movies and books like The Monuments Men and Pictures at an Exhibition. The opportunity to reunite beloved works of art and their owners is rapidly disappearing, yet this beautifully filmed movie, directed by Simon Curtis, shows the importance of continuing these efforts. Because this film is based on a true story, and I for one remembered how it ends, a certain inevitability about the outcome guides the plot. Perhaps this is what has caused reviewers (not me!) to find it dull, though they find the actors captivating. As a result of the strong positive audience reception, the film's distributor will greatly expand its national distribution. If you like stories that touch on beauty, truth, and justice, you will like it, too!
  • A WWII true story drama that deserves to be told on the screen. Helen Mirren gives yet another astounding performance and I was pleasantly surprised by Ryan Reynolds. What would attract audiences to WOMAN IN GOLD is its David Vs. Goliath story, everybody loves a story about an underdog taking on the impossible and that's what WOMAN IN GOLD essentially is.

    Directed by Simon Curtis who gave us "My Week With Marilyn" four years ago, Helen Mirren plays an elderly Jewish woman named Maria Altmann who sixty years after she fled Vienna, Austria to escape the Nazis, starts her uphill legal battles to retrieve a valuable painting that was seized by the Nazis, a painting that is now in the possession of a museum in Austria. A young lawyer, Randy Schoenberg (Ryan Reynolds) helps Maria in her quest that receives resistance from the Austrian establishment. All the while her quest forces Maria to finally confront her past WWII provides a ton of stories for cinemas to depict, they will never run out of WWII materials, this one tackles the fact that thousands of artwork and paintings, that were stolen by Nazis, to this day, have never been restored to their rightful owners. Maria's story is just one of the thousands, and I think it's fascinating that WOMAN IN GOLD basically says that yes, sometimes we need to leave the past where it belongs, the past, but when the past committed a great deal of injustice on us, one can't just easily dismiss it and simply use 'the past' as an excuse to not pursue justice. It's obvious too from Helen Mirren's performance, Helen understands that Maria carries a certain guilt all these years, guilt that she blames herself for abandoning her family and abandoning their possessions. Mirren is excellent at presenting us this tortured conflicted soul, caught between being haunted by the past and the desperate need to forget and move on. And Ryan Reynolds holds his ground as the young persistent lawyer. I think people don't give Ryan enough credit because he's a heartthrob, but the man can pass as a struggling family man with strong conviction. I think WOMAN IN GOLD is an important film, unfortunately I doubt that it would be remembered during award season mainly because we're still fresh from another Weinstein Company's drama, "Philomena" a couple of years ago which also showed an elderly woman accompanied by a young lad, both on a crusade for the truth.

    Read more at Ramascreen.Com
  • The lady in question is Adele Bloch-Bauer who was the subject of a magnificent painting, deploying lots of gold, by the Austrian artist Gustav Klimt. Following the Anschuss of 1938 when Germany took over Austria, this painting was one of many, many artefacts seized by the Nazis from Jewish families in occupied Europe.

    The film tells the story - a little fictionalised - of Adele's niece Maria Altmann who escaped from Vienna to live in California and, during the 1980s as an octogenarian, pursued an audacious claim to take back this painting and other Klimt works from the Austrian Government. Helen Mirren is brilliant as Altmann in another distinguished performance in a sparkling career during which she has played everything from "The Queen" to an assassin (RED"), while Ryan Reynolds is surprisingly good as her lawyer Randy Schoenberg in a role a million miles from "Green Lantern" or "Deadpool".

    There's a lot going on in this film: legal battles over the art work with some classic courtroom scenes, flashbacks (in sepia colours) to Altmann's earlier life in 1930s Vienna, and an evolving relationship between the irascible Altmann and the idealistic Schoenberg, both descendants of famous Austrians. This is not the kind of film that was ever going to be a major box office draw but it is certainly worth a home viewing.
  • krocheav12 April 2016
    'Woman in Gold' makes for a dazzling movie experience (even if at times it may leave you questioning it's authenticity). Having not been an admirer of Mirren's early screen work - she seems to have become better with age (well, for me anyway), I was taken with her portrayal of Maria Altman from start to finish (as also in 'The Queen'). Ryan Reynolds gives good support as the young Lawyer taking on a case above his station. Reynolds, whose style is somewhat reminiscent of a young Kevin Costner, plays the Randol Schoenberg part with conviction.

    London born director Simon Curtis gives the proceedings an easy to watch style and with the help of documentary editor Peter Lambert, they keep the viewer engaged throughout. Curtis also gets to direct his American wife (in a guest style role) Elizabeth McGovern, who has since made England her home. First time feature screenplay writer Alexi Kaye Campbell has fashioned an interesting interpretation of the writings of Altman and Schoeenberg's own life experiences, looking back at yet another of humanity's all time low past atrocities - although as mentioned, for some, certain sections of the screenplay may not always ring true (?)

    Cinematographer Ross Emery (Matrix) gets a chance to prove he's also good without the help of tons of big budget CGI. It's hard to tell who did what with the music score, credited to both Martin Phipps and Hans Zimmer but, it's pleasing in an unobtrusive manor. Design Guru's, Andrew Ackland-Snow and brothers Dominic and Giles Masters (Harry Potter) with the help of others, ensure it looks good - perhaps while also getting a chance to strut their stuff without being drenched in CGI.

    As a minor point, some location settings in Austria seemed a little too devoid of people to give an accurate representation, still, it's an amazing human story, both informative and entertaining. It should please most sophisticated audiences, while letting us reflect on an episode from our dark past.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Watched it on DVD from my public library.

    This is predominantly a true story with perhaps some events and dialog created for dramatic effect. In the 1930s when the Nazis were inhabiting Austria, and leading up to the atrocities of WW2, Jews in Vienna were being harassed and their valuable furnishings and art objects were being confiscated.

    One particularly personal art object, and now (1998) valued at over $100 Million, is the Klimt painting called "Woman in Gold" because it used actual gold foil. The subject of the painting was the now deceased aunt of Helen Mirren (actually 69-ish) as 80-ish Maria Altmann living in Los Angeles since she was a young woman, having fled Austria.

    By this time, the late 1990s, Austria had initiated a system of reparations for those crimes and now Maria wanted to see if she could recover some of her family's stolen treasure, particularly the golden portrait of her aunt. She approached the family friend and young lawyer, mid-30ish Ryan Reynolds as Randy Schoenberg, whose grandfather was a well-known Austrian composer.

    Randy was reluctant to take it on, as he had failed to make his own law practice work and now had just taken a new job with a big firm. But his interest was piqued when a quick web search indicated it great value. His lawyer instincts (go after the big money) kicked in and his quest was on.

    This all of course was not a smooth trip. They had to go to court, even up to the US Supreme Court, but eventually they arrived at a 3- person arbitration to hear their case. The Austrians over the years had adopted the Woman in Gold as their own Mona Lisa and had no desire to see it leave their country. Maria tried to make a deal with them, if they would admit that they had obtained it illegally and apologize, and compensate her reasonably, she would let it stay in the Austrian museum. But they flatly refused so she snubbed them after the arbitration decision and the work of art now resides in a USA museum.

    All-in-all a very good story, well-told and well-acted, worthwhile for both its historical significance and the entertainment value of the movie itself.
  • blanche-222 November 2015
    Helen Mirren and Ryan Reynolds star in "Woman in Gold" from 2015, a true story about the quest of Maria Altmann to recover art stolen from her family by the Nazis in Vienna, the seat of anti-Semitism in Europe.

    I just want to point out, to answer some of the reviews, that this is not a documentary, it's a movie. Movies combine events, change them around, omit them. No one wants to watch a tedious film that recognizes that it took a huge amount of time to get to the Supreme Court. If you want the actual, factual story of Maria Altmann's journey, you will need to read about it or see one of several documentaries. Films are meant to pique our interest.

    Altmann speaks with a young attorney, Randy Shoenberg, about recovering The Woman in Gold, a painting by Klimt that is considered a symbol of Vienna. Klimt in fact painted a series of stunning portraits of Altmann's aunt, Adele Bloch-Bauer, who died of meningitis at the age of 44.

    In her will, she asked her husband Ferdinand, who had seen the writing on the wall in Vienna and fled to Prague, to donate the paintings to the Austrian State Gallery.

    Although he has just started a new job, Shoenberg travels to Vienna to see the will. Along the way there are flashbacks of Vienna in the '30s, where the Bloch-Bauer family lived in opulence. When the Nazis came to their home, they stripped the place of everything valuable - and there was a lot -- and put the family under house arrest.

    Maria and her husband, an opera singer, manage to escape in a harrowing scene. In flashbacks, Maria is played by the remarkable Tatiana Maslany, the star of "Orphan Black," who looks incredibly like a brunette Mirren.

    This is a touching, beautifully told story of one man's sacrifice and determination and a woman facing up to her past in order to seek justice.

    Helen Mirren is one of my favorite actresses - here, she is a vibrant, energetic octogenarian who finds the struggle for the painting uncomfortable - several times, meeting a roadblock, she is ready to wash her hands of it, but Schoenberg won't let her. It represents her family to her, and some uncomfortable memories. You can see all of that in Mirren's multilayered performance.

    Reynolds is excellent as a young man who believes in taking a chance - - he started and failed in his own law practice - and in this case, going for the gold, despite the fact that he has a wife (Katie Holmes), a baby, and one on the way, and an intolerant boss. It doesn't faze him and when Maria wants to quit, he is furious.

    I disagree that there was no connection between them. In fact, there is a deep one. The quest for the painting comes to represent to him what it means to Maria

    I highly recommend this film. There are tons of movies about the horrors perpetrated on Jews by the Nazis. The recovery of stolen art is one part of that horror. "You see a painting," she tells a group. "I see my aunt."
  • While this is a deeply moving story, this is the first film about the Holocaust I've ever heard of that is not intensely violent or overwhelmingly gut-wrenching. You could take the whole family to see Woman in Gold without being concerned in the slightest about traumatizing even a child. The story is told in such a straightforward way you get to feel like you are a friend of the Altman and Bloch-Bauer family! It's that intimate! Wow! That's what I call good filmmaking!

    The next time you visit New York City I highly recommend visiting The Neue Gallery located on Museum Mile. Seeing the Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I by Gustav Klimt in real life is quite an experience! There's good reason why the painting is called the "Mona Lisa of Austria." This is also a story about being a good lawyer.

    If you want to be a lawyer someday, this story will give you an idea what a determined and intelligent lawyer can accomplish!
  • This film tells the story of a old woman who moved to USA to escaped Nazi rule in Austria when she was young. She finds documentary proof in her late sister's belongings that several priceless paintings are stolen from her family, and are now in the possession of a state museum.

    "Woman in Gold" is a beautiful film because it's a journey of three people working hard for a common goal for slightly different reasons. I'm impressed by the lawyer's enthusiasm in taking up Maria's case. He shows much dedication and professionalism. Maria's goal to take back the paintings is to keep memories alive, which is very touching. The atmosphere of the film is kept quite serious but not sombre, which is not easy for a film about the persecution of Jews. Overall, I think this film portrays a triumphant journey, and is very touching.
  • I think it's the best movie I have seen this year! Helen Mirren was simply breathtaking! A movie filled with history and amazing scenes from the Nazi era in Austria, a movie filled with the sense of justice and the longing for making things right. Ryan Reynolds was up to the task, although I was kind of fearful of whether or not he would manage to stand beside this great lady.

    I enjoyed the flashbacks of the movie, and really sympathized with the drama of the Jews of Austria. An amazing movie coming in a time when the extreme parties around Europe are growing exponentially, to show us what really matters in the end and how the horrific actions of the Nazis have ruined the life of so many people.

    In the end of the movie, you feel moved, you feel complete and you feel warm in the inside. I think that any movie that can offer these three things, is absolutely a "9" for me!
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Based on the true story of a woman trying to get back her properties more than 50 years after leaving her homeland because of Nazi persecution, "The Woman in Gold" offers an idea of how difficult it is to fight the big guys, without making the film a complex courtroom drama or diluting every element to make it overly sentimental. In the hands of Reynolds and Mirren, the main players in this drama, we get a satisfying and entertaining movie.

    Told by mixing contemporary and flashback footage, we learn about the origins of the artwork that Maria is trying to recover from the Austrian government. Her parents, uncle and aunt collected and commissioned art pieces in their prosperous days in Austria, only to see it stolen and appropriated by different people before some of it landed in famous museums. Maria must fight a "will" written by her aunt (the lady in the portrait), with the help of a young lawyer who might or might not have enough stamina and experience to fight the big legal firms protecting what the other side now claims to be deeply associated with Austrian identity, ignoring a few legal complications along the way.

    The best part of the film is watching the interaction between Mirren and Reynolds. She's old and tired, with fire in her heart and the disposition to fight whoever blocks her way, but she is also old and tired, and this is beautifully portrayed by Mirren. There's a big heart in her, and she takes on a motherly role to push Reynolds to fight her battle. She's full of tough love, eventually turning the business relationship into something deeper and more meaningful.

    Reynolds might not have been the most obvious choice for the attorney, but he does a decent job here, showing that he has the spirit to learn and the perseverance to honor or maybe live up to a pair of talented and respected relatives with ties to the Austrian motherland. Something clicks inside of him as he visits that country for the first time, and with the support of his client/friend, he is willing to risk his professional and personal lives to accomplish what many see as an impossible enterprise.

    The flashbacks are exquisitely done, and the actors portraying the younger Maria and her husband (Max Irons) are very good, especially the younger Maria who resembles Mirren in her looks and attitude. She grows up from a rich and moody socialite to survivor who must find a way to America, a place where she will be able to have a future. Her ties to her family are strong, and her eventual decisions are difficult to make. The recreation of the period is exquisite, and it's always a pleasure to have the movies take us back to the past or to another land, so we can learn a little bit more about ourselves and/or human nature.

    In conclusion, here is a movie with a message, with entertainment, and with a little bit of history, so that we don't forget and hopefully we won't make the same mistakes again.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    A good, solid job, no more, no less, but it could have used more focus on the flashbacks to Altman's life in Vienna before she escaped in 1939.

    Billy Wilder, who grew up in Vienna, once said that the Austrians were the cleverest people in the world – they had convinced everyone that Beethoven was an Austrian and Hitler was a German. After the Third Reich lost, the Austrians managed to portray the Anschluss as Hitler's first conquest and themselves as his first victim. In actuality, Hitler was welcomed with immense enthusiasm and large numbers of Austrians were devoted Nazis. That's not surprising because Hitler's view of the world was essentially Austro-German, both the belief that the Germans were the natural rulers over an empire of Slavs and the ferocious middle class anti-Semitism.

    Late Hapsburg and post-1918 Vienna had a large, prosperous Jewish upper middle class, prominent in finance, industry and intellectual pursuits, thoroughly assimilated to Austro-German high culture, who had been protected, if not exactly embraced, by Kaiser Franz Josef and the Hapsburg aristocracy. They were also envied and hated by the gentile craftsmen and shopkeepers of Vienna, who repeatedly elected anti- Semite Karl Lueger as mayor despite the opposition of the Kaiser and the government. Lueger was a populist reformer, a proponent of social welfare legislation, and a great builder of infrastructure, not unlike LaGuardia. A devout Catholic himself, Lueger realized that any populist mass movement in Vienna would have to be anti-Semitic to succeed, and he regularly denounced the Jews. Hitler saw him as a model, both as an anti-Semite and as a charismatic politician. Until very recently, he was memorialized in Vienna street names, and there are still statues of him there.

    The movie's best scenes are street scenes in Vienna in the aftermath of the Anschluss, where Jews are forced scrub anti-Nazi graffiti off the sidewalks, to paint "Jude" on their businesses, and to have their beards and sidelocks shorn. The crowds of gentile onlookers are not merely curious; they're as excited and happy to see justice being done as crackers at a lynching. In Altman's dealings with modern Austrian bureaucrats, the movie subtly conveys the sense that, though not Nazis themselves, they are content to see the Jews gone and have no more intention of giving back the loot than Americans have of giving Texas back to the Comanches. What Altman wants from the Austrians is a confession that they are the knowing receivers of stolen goods and that their ancestors participated enthusiastically in the theft. She never gets it, which is why the Klimt now hangs in the Neue Galerie in New York.
  • Fleurus16 February 2019
    Warning: Spoilers
    If it were a work of fiction, people would say it's a bit far fetched and not really believable... But everything is true. What makes the film so compelling is that it shows History as it happened . It also sets the record straight about how Austrians were happy to welcome the Nazis all those years ago. But more than this, it is filmed as a thriller diving into History, spiced up with a bit of courtroom drama. The actors are all incredible. Helen Mirren is not a surprise, she is excellent in everything she does ( you could put a sac of potatoes over her head and she would still be convincing ) but Ryan Reynolds is so good in portraying this young lawyer in for the money who comes to realize that he is fighting for his family too, that he moved me to tears. Those two fought against a brick wall and bit by bit achieved to destroy it. It is a marvellous story and a great film.
  • It was a good choice after I have read all the positive critics here. This is a very emotional true story that is well told and never boring. There were good flashbacks where all the reconstructed scenes were originally and perfectly done. I felt to be in the movie. All the actors and especially Ryan Reynolds delivered a great job. Helen Mirren put as usual a special humor note into the ambiance. It seems this role is suited to her and nobody else. The music was wonderful and I had even some tears. This movie is much more better than the other ones about the stolen Jewish paintings from the Nazi. See it. 7/10

    If you like this genre of movie don't miss The Pianist, Der Letzte Zug or Die Fälscher.
  • I thought that this was a very entertaining and informative film, which sets the scene naturally.

    It was not overly dramatised or forced and with excellent performances; particularly from Helen Mirren and Tatiana Maslany who played the same character at different ages perfectly in harmony with each other; showing how history can change people from youthful optimism to pragmatism and a wistfulness for a glorious past.

    History buffs will find it a fascinating foray into the glory of Vienna's past. Though art stolen by Nazis is a theme recently explored by movies such as The Monuments Men, this part of the Second World War has not been really explored by the movie industry; I am sure there are more stories to come. There have been a few movies about Austria and the Third Reich, the Sound of Music springs to mind. This one compares favourably with both the aforementioned films.
  • I will say that Helen Mirren seems to be one of those rare actress just like Meryl Streep that can make an average movie turn into something rather extraordinary. She plays Maria Altman an Austrian Jewish woman who was forced to flee her country and family with her husband Franz during the second world war. Maria is also dealing with the battle of the Austrian Art institute when she attempts to reclaiming a painting that belonged to her aunt that was nicknamed the Woman in Gold. With the help of her lawyer Randy, she attempts to get back the paintings that was rightfully hers and stolen from Nazis during the war. I would say that I would recommend this movie for fans who love history and art.
  • "Mrs. Altmann, it would seem that if your case goes forward, world diplomacy will collapse, and you will be solely responsible."

    "Woman in Gold" is a wonderful and sometimes touching film. Not because of the topic as this was already highlighted in "The Monuments Men", but because of the brilliant rendition Helen Mirren is showing here. A role that suits her perfectly. A distinguished elderly lady who's a descendant of a wealthy Jewish family and who was forced to flee to the United States during Austria's annexation with Germany. She left behind everything: family, personal things and valuable belongings that were owned by the family Altmann. The resentment towards the German ruler obviously is still as lively now as it was in the past. And despite her intention never to set foot on Austrian soil again, she still makes the overseas trip to reclaim the famous painting "Portrait of Adèle Bloch-Bauer" by Gustav Klimt, since she's the rightful heir. That this invaluable piece of art was worth a fortune, is swept aside by her as irrelevant. In the end the painting has been sold to a renowned New York art gallery for a mere 135 million dollars. I'm sure at that moment it wasn't irrelevant anymore.

    The film is actually twofold. Obviously there's a less successful part and an exciting second part. The first part, and least successful, is about the court case Maria Altmann starts against the Austrian state, who consider the previous mentioned painting as a national treasure. The fact that it was stolen by the Nazis and actually ended up in their hands unlawfully, was a side issue apparently. So the first thing we are presented with, is an old fashioned courtroom drama with Ryan Reynolds as the young lawyer Randol Schönberg, grandson of the famous Austrian composer Arnold Schönberg and also descendant of a family of war refugees.

    The fascinating and interesting part of the film focuses on the past and present of the widow Altmann. A metered mixture of images of this zestful character these days and the painful memories weighing on her shoulders. These memories are displayed in old-fashioned-looking sepia-colored flashbacks. A sketch full of contrasts of the still traumatized Maria and the conditions in which she lived during the occupation. The humiliations and fear. When she gets back in Vienna after so many years, Mary's facial expression proves that this past still weighs heavily on her.

    Helen Mirren is a kind of mixture of P. L. Travers and Queen Elizabeth. A lady behaving according to the etiquette from the upper middle class who keeps certain values and norms still alive. A stiff Victorian granny who suffers from a trauma and is seeking for justice. A kind of Miss Marple, but then still in possession of an elegant well-preserved beauty. Without any effort Mirren surpasses the young Reynold on screen. Despite his immense importance in the complex legal procedure, the character pales in comparison with the engaging, witty and sometimes tragic person performed by Mirren. Despite the fact that now and then she brings forward corny sounding quotes, she remains a credible and worthy character.

    Of course you can cite that the Austrian people are portrayed in a one-sided and caricatural way and look like an anti-Semitic nation that supports the Nazi-regime. Personally, I'm convinced that it's pretty close to being true and that it's more an instinctual survival tactic than that they were supporting that ideology. But that's another discussion. Maybe the relationship between Maria Altmann and her aunt Adèle could have been worked out a bit deeper. But the acting of Mirren and the tragic images of the past create an unparalleled film filled with tragedy and justice.

    More reviews here :
  • During their occupation of Europe, the Nazis looted countless paintings. The paintings' rightful owners later spent years trying to reclaim them. A famous case was that of Maria Altmann, the daughter of a wealthy Jewish family in Vienna. Gustav Klimt painted a portrait of her aunt Adele, and the Nazis seized the painting after taking over Austria. Altmann's quest to reclaim the painting turned into a tug-of-war between the US and Austria in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

    Simon Curtis's "Woman in Gold" tells this story, starring Helen Mirren as Altmann and Ryan Reynolds as her lawyer. Part of what we see is how the lawyer - whose superiors at the law firm are REAL jerks - starts out isolated from his family history, but the trial reconnects him. I didn't even know about this story until the movie got released.

    Does the movie have any downside? Well, it's likely that Altmann's family made their wealth by paying slave wages, and the movie never addresses this. Of course, Hitler used the Jews' economic success to depict the Jews as money-grubbers, so this might not be the best place to address it.

    Overall, I recommend the movie. This is a part of history that no one should ever forget.
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