Since seeing Deadpool I must be on some sort of Ryan Reynolds vibe because the very next day I watched Woman in Gold on Now TV. I wanted to see this one at the cinema actually last year when it was released but sadly it never happened so I was rather pleased when I saw it pop up as a choice.
Woman in Gold, directed by Simon Curtis, tells the true story of Maria Altmann (excellently played by Helen Mirren) and how upon the death of her sister she finds out about new art restoration laws happening in Austria. The aim of these laws are to help people be returned to their belongings that were taken in the Second World War by the Nazis. Maria’s family had such belongings, most famously the portrait of her aunt Adele painted by Gustav Klimt. This portrait is now the Mona Lisa of Austria and they won’t give her up so easily. Maria therefore employs the help of a friend’s son, Randy played by Ryan Reynolds. A struggling lawyer who has just started a new job and has a newborn at home.
Initially Randy isn’t too keen but knowing what the painting is worth he soon convinces his new employers that this case could be very big and luckily they agree to let him work on it. Sadly it can’t be done as “extra time” as Maria suggests. Soon the pair are off to Austria, the original home of Maria, with help from Hubertus Czernin (Daniel Bruhl) to fill a suit for the committee to finally get back what rightfully belongs to her family.
I thoroughly enjoyed this film. The subject matter is actually quiet harrowing as you see what people endured in the war. I particularly liked how these scenes were told in flashbacks with the young Maria and her new husband, Fritz getting married and the Germans invading and finally seeing them both take the opportunity to flee to America. There is a really tender scene when she says goodbye to her parents, knowing she is leaving them to stay in the nightmare and them emotionally letting her go to have a life, the chance to live.
The acting was fabulous but what do you expect when watching Helen Mirren, she is just perfection. Her partnership in this with Ryan Reynolds too was quite charming and amusing. The partnership of the two leads can mean so much in films like this, for example, with Steve Coogan and Judy Dench in Philomena. Two people from completely different places, thoughts and ways of viewing life who will always come to loggerheads but identify what they also need in each other. That same partnership was here.
The film was also beautifully shot and sometimes I think films don’t get enough recognition for that. We often talk about the actors etc but the scenery, cinematography and costumes play such a huge part. This film was decadent of all that. So rich in places yet simplistically elegant in others. A perfect balance.
If you can catch this film on Now TV
it is definitely worth the watch.