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Wick's Review

Created May 08, 2015 11:59AM PST • Edited Jul 16, 2015 12:33PM PST

  1. Quality
  2. Great 4.0

    Woman in Gold glitters with performances that are charismatic and affecting, a story that’s fascinating and true, and a happy ending that delivers emotional closure. In short, it’s a small treasure of a movie.

    Helen Mirren stars as Maria Altmann, whose aunt was the model for the painting Woman in Gold, a Klimt masterpiece looted by the Nazis and then appropriated by the Austrian government, til recently returned to its rightful owner. The movie deftly splits its time between 21st century L.A. & Vienna and 1930s Vienna as it explores the human relationships surrounding the first Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer.

    Woman in Gold works as a grownup date-movie and as a historical nugget, especially for those interested in the Holocaust and its effects down through the ages. It is heartwarming and fascinating in equal measure.

  3. Great 4.0

    Helen Mirren carries the movie, which is just fine by me. Dame Helen keeps finding ideal roles as strong and stylish women. Thus it’s no surprise that she has no trouble with the German accent and refined hauteur of Maria Altmann, a woman born and raised by patrons of the arts. The Great Mirren deftly reveals Altmann’s wounded core, making us cheer for her all the more as she ultimately gains blessed closure.

    Ryan Reynolds plays Randy Schoenberg, the greenhorn lawyer who won her improbable case. Reynolds is fine, albeit unremarkable. Katie Holmes is even more unremarkable as his stalwart wife.

    Daniel Brühl plays Hubertus Czernin, the Austian investigative journalist whose work led to the looted Klimt paintings and many others being returned. Brühl isn’t dynamic or charismatic, but is subtly effective, as his Niki Lauda in Rush earlier demonstrated.

    Flashback Characters
    • Tatiana Maslany plays Maria Altmann as a young woman who must flee from the Nazis. Nellie Schilling plays her as little girl. Both are quite affecting, Maslany most of all.
    • Allan Corduner & Nina Kunzendorf play her parents Gustav & Therese Bloch-Bauer. Corduner jumps off screen as a passionate amateur cellist and loving family-man.
    • Antje Traue plays Adele Bloch-Bauer, while Henry Goodman plays her wise and generous husband Ferdinand Bloch-Bauer. Notably, Traue gets to reenact sitting for Klimt as he painted the Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I. She is an actress who makes the most of small roles, as for instance Superman’s mother in Man of Steel.
    • Max Irons as Fredrick “Fritz” Altmann, Maria’s opera-singer husband

    Cameos

    • Charles Dance as a forbidding partner at a big L.A. law firm
    • Elizabeth McGovern as a Judge: Her husband (Simon Curtis) is the movie’s director.
    • Jonathan Pryce as Chief Justice William Rehnquist
    • Ben Miles as Ronald Lauder
  4. Male Stars Great 4.0
  5. Female Stars Great 4.0
  6. Female Costars Great 4.0
  7. Male Costars Great 4.0
  8. Great 4.0

    Simon Curtis achieves cinematic alchemy directing a somewhat convoluted story into an involving film. Not that Maria Altmann and Randol Schoenberg’s life stories aren’t dramatic, but they span lifetimes, involve aunts and uncles, and observe more than a little obscure courtroom machinations.

    No matter, working from Alexi Kaye Campbell’s excellent screenplay, Curtis deftly flashes back-and-forth in the life story of Maria Altmann to bring us into her world. Their film achieves a real touch of grace as the flashbacks morph into Maria’s dream of reconnecting with her lost family, a beautiful and affecting scene.

  9. Direction Great 4.0
  10. Play Really Great 4.5
  11. Music Great 4.0
  12. Visuals Really Great 4.5
  13. Content
  14. Risqué 1.8

    While outright violence is absent, Nazi thugs shown in the early stages of the Holocaust create a legitimate feeling of dread.

  15. Sex Innocent 1.3
  16. Violence Fierce 2.0
  17. Rudeness Salty 2.1
  18. Glib 1.2

    Truth isn’t necessarily stranger than fiction in Woman in Gold, but it is more affecting and rewarding. Maria Altmann’s story, the story of her beloved Aunt Adele, Uncle Ferdinand, her kind and gentle parents, and the insanely valuable painting that memorialized them all, form a fascinating tableau for the movie.

    For instance, Gustav Klimt took three years to finish the Art Nouveau masterpiece Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I. Twenty years later the Nazis would loot it.

  19. Circumstantial Glib 1.5

    CircoReality set to 150% of real to account for inevitable dramatizations.

  20. Biological Natural 1.0
  21. Physical Natural 1.0

Forum

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Apr 22, 2015 7:43PM
Tripod

Regarding Tripod’s Review
sorry if I got carried away but the last two scenes were the best experiences in a while in a theatre. thanks for the venue

Apr 20, 2015 6:50PM
Wick

Regarding Tripod’s Review
Tripod bestows a Perfect.