Films which focus on history never fail to amaze me, especially when the Nazi regime is under the spotlight. I’m glad for films like Woman In Gold because they help us to remember the awful things that happened in history, and allow us to be grateful for the freedom we experience today. Woman In Gold is the amazing true story of Maria Altman taking the Austrian government to court over the illegal possession of a number of paintings that belong to her family.
Woman In Gold is a fantastic film, the strength is in the incredible true story though. The story itself will make you experience a whole range of emotions; joy, frustration, anger, sadness etc. The variety of emotions here is what makes the film so engaging. The truth behind the film is the driving force behind its success, you want justice for Maria and her family just as much as she does. Helen Mirren of course brings her amazing acting ability to this role and she excels as she brings life to such an amazing woman and her story. Ryan Reynolds plays lawyer Randol (Randy) Schoenberg, at first I found it hard to distance this role from his last one in The Voices which was a bit of an odd thought and it lead me to wonder if he had been slightly mis-cast. However, as the film progressed so did Reynolds portrayal of Randy and I think it worked well, especially in some scenes towards the end of the movie where he gets the chance to really go for it. The rest of the cast don’t have a lot to do but it was nice to see some familiar faces fill the lesser roles too.
Woman In Gold did have a few problems though, once the court cases began the film didn’t flow as well and it lost some of its emotional edge that was so present whilst the events were taking place in Vienna. However, this issue doesn’t last too long especially as the film enters its final scenes of this element. Some more character development would have been nice, especially in Randy’s home situation, Katie Holmes who played his wife Pam just seemed like a spare part. This were only minor issues though and didn’t detract too much from my enjoyment. One other flaw in the film which I found amusing more than an issue was the fact that in one scene whilst Randy and Maria are driving down a street there is a billboard for Guardians of the Galaxy. This film spans from 1998-2004 so unfortunately they were a bit too early for Guardians but it made me chuckle anyway. As well as the more recent events Woman In Gold explores Maria’s youth and the early years of her womanhood in Vienna. These scenes were great and they brought pace and emotion to the picture. These moments really tie everything together and give and explain motivation for actions and I thought the dual method of story telling was great.
Woman In Gold is a wonderful film of an amazing true story. Whilst being educational on several levels, it is also highly emotional. You really journey with Maria and Randy in their struggle and you feel all the emotions that they do thanks to the story telling and performances. Another fine film spawned from one of the worst periods of human history.
Rating – 8.5/10