Woman in Gold
Director: Simon Curtis
Cast: Helen Mirren, Ryan Reynolds, Daniel Bruhl
Country of Origin: USA, UK 2015 mins.
Released by Entertainment Film Distributors
Gustav Klimt's 'Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer' retitled 'Woman in Gold' to hide it's Jewish origins hung in the Belvedere gallery and was referred to as Vienna's 'Mona Lisa' and one of a number of Klimt paintings looted by the Nazis.
'Woman in Gold,' based on a true story sees Helen Mirren give a restrained and memorable performance as the strong willed Jewish Holocaust emigree Maria Altmann who battled Austrian bureaucracy to reclaim her heritage. Maria Altmann and her husband Fritz (Max Irons) fled Austria for America and sixty years later she began a lengthy court case to reclaim the Klimt masterpiece. It's the principle, a matter of right, of justice. Altmann's aunt, Adele Loch-Bauer who intended to leave her Klimt collection to the Austrian National Gallery, was the iconic figure in Gustav Klimt's 'Portrait of Adel Bloch-Bauer' with the jewelled choker so loved by Goebbels' wife. With her inexperienced young lawyer Randy Schoenberg (Ryan Reynolds), grandson of the painter and composer Arnold Schoenberg who was initially reluctant to take on the case, Maria Altmann travels to Vienna the source of dark hidden memories and the heart of the Austrian establishment.
Flash backs fill in the background story, Tatiana Maslany playing the young Maria Altmann but it's a clean cinematic portrayal of the horrors of that time. Helen Mirren reigns supreme as Maria Altmann and it's questionable why Ryan Reynolds who's a bland background shadow to Mirren was cast. Investigative reporter Hubertus Czernin (Daniel Bruhl) helps their case but doesn't seen to do much investigating.
Maria Altmann was triumphant in the US Supreme Court and 'Portrait of Adel Bloch-Bauer' was sold to Ronald Lauder for 135 million dollars and is in New York's Neue gallery. Maria Altmann donated the majority of the sale to charitable causes.
A story of courage and principle.