Maria Altmann is a Jewish refugee who fled to America from Austria when the Nazi’s took over. She now wants the artwork back that she believes belongs to her family and was taken unlawfully.
I listed this film in ones I missed in 2015 so I have very quickly managed to catch up with this one as it premiered on Sky Movies yesterday. In all honesty though I did not realise the subject matter of the film.
The story is shown to us in flashback form at times as we see Maria’s life and how she spent her childhood and young life up until she had to leave Austria to save her own life with her young husband. With that it was also based around artworked owned by her parents, in particular a portrait of her Auntie now known as the woman in gold and seen as an Austrian treasure. As the story progresses we find out that the pictures were taken by the Nazi movement. Something which happened a lot during the Second World War, especially from Jewish people.
Randy Schoenberg a lawyer who finds himself involved with Maria due to his family history of Austria with his Grandfather being from there. He tries to resist getting involved but quickly finds himself in too deep when he finds out the truth and visits Austria to realise the big cover up and awful nature of it all.
To begin with I thought the film was a little slow but it actually had two separate parts in the end really as they put up a fight to reclaim the art work. All based on a true story of course.
I cannot really think of a better actress to take on this time of a role of a headstrong outspoken woman than Helen Mirren she really is just perfect as Maria and I can understand why she had good buzz and hype around her performance in this film. She is such a great actress and I am very proud to have her as a fellow Brit. Her Austrian accent was very impressive as well as speaking in different languages.
Now that is certainly something to mention and praise the film for, at times it is subtitled with different languages being spoken to really show how it was at the time. As we all know that some films like this end up with everyone speaking English all of the time.
I must also mention the preformance from Ryan Reynolds which I thought worked very well with Mirren. He kept up with her in different scenes and even managed to show that he can do that type of more serious role. I do think he has a better range and ability than he gets credit for the majority of the time.
While the film is not perfect I think it’s important to show a different side to World War II than we have seen on film before. I mean I had no idea about artwork being taken and then given to different people in power within the Nazi camp. It wasn’t the holocaust that you may expect with a film about Jews in WW2, which was refreshing in all honesty as we were shown and told new things.
It shows that you should never just settle when something is rightly yours and a crime was committed. Why shouldn’t people pay for what they have taken? No matter how long ago it happened.