1 October 2017

Woman in Gold

Woman in Gold
  • Director: Simon Curtis
  • Based on E Randal Schoenberg’s memoirs
  • Cast: Helen Mirren, Ryan Reynolds, Daniel Brühl, Katie Holmes, Tatiana Maslany, Charles Dance, Elizabeth McGovern, Jonathan Pryce, Henry Goodman, Ben Miles
  • Personal “oh yeah him/her” reaction, i.e. have seen this actor in:
    • Helen Mirren – Shakespeare Live, The Hundred-Foot Journey, Brighton Rock, The Tempest, The Queen, Calendar Girls, The Roman Spring of Mrs Stone, Gosford Park, Last Orders, Some Mother’s Son, Prime Suspect, The Madness of King George, The Prince of Jutland, Mosquito Coast, Cymbeline, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Excalibur, As You Like It, O Lucky Man!
    • Daniel Brühl – Inglourious Basterds, The Bourne Ultimatum, Ladies in Lavender, Good-bye Lenin
    • Katie Holmes – Batman Begins
    • Charles Dance – Merlin, Starter for 10, Bleak House, Gosford Park, Hilary & Jackie, Alien 3,
    • Elizabeth McGovern – Downton Abbey, Cheerful Weather for the Wedding, If Not for You, Racing for the Moon, Ragtime
    • Jonathan Pryce – Wolf Hall, The Merchant of Venice (on stage at the Globe), Under Milkwood, Cranford, Pirates of the Caribbean, The Brothers Grimm, Very Annie Mary, Tomorrow Never Dies, Evita, The Age of Innocence, Glengarry Glen Ross, Brazil, Timon of Athens, Voyage of the Damned
    • Henry Goodman – London Spy, Taking Woodstock, Colour Me Kubrick, Notting Hill, Cold Lazarus, Mary Reilly
    • Ben Miles – The Hollow Crown, Under the Greenwood Tree, V for Vendetta, Hustle, Keep the Aspidistra Flying
  • Why? Helen Mirren, Elizabeth McGovern
  • Seen: 24 September 2017      

       1998. Los Angeles. Maria (Mirren) is at her sister’s funeral.
       Back in time. Maria’s aunt Adele was painted by Gustave Klimt. The painting was stolen by the Nazis. Maria wants it back and talks a young lawyer, Randy (Reynolds) into getting involved. She’s bossy, fussy and imperious.  He’s a struggling, newly unemployed, recently failed lawyer, grandson to the composer Schönberg and married with a baby.
       Maria decides to face her ghosts in the country that murdered her family and returns to Vienna with Randy. Another flashback. Maria and her husband escape from Vienna. It’s very dramatic. More low-key but also dramatic is the battle over the return of Klimt’s ‘Women in Gold’ to Maria. Austria claims it as a national treasure and refuses to give it back.
       Mirren is magnificent as the aging Maria. The glimpses into the chilling 1930’s and cold bureaucracy and patriotism of modern Austria are well done. The film’s weak point is the bland and unconvincing Reynolds as the increasingly obsessed and sensitive lawyer. McGovern and Pryce add almost enough pizzazz to their small roles to make up for it but then it becomes a bit too sentimental in the end.
       Still, it’s an interesting film about an interesting historical phenomenon.
3 ½ * of 5   

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