Thursday, June 9, 2016

MOVIE WEEKEND: WOMAN IN GOLD

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

I'm pleased to present an intelligent and beautifully made movie that I love: Woman In Gold (2015, Rated PG-13, Available on DVD).


Woman In Gold is based on the true story of Maria Altmann (Helen Mirren) and her quest to regain artwork stolen from her family by the Nazis. Altmann and her husband flee Austria after the Nazi Anschluss. In flashbacks, they leave behind family and possessions, including artwork painted expressly for Altmann's artistic and aristocratic Jewish family by Austrian artist Gustav Klimt.

The "Woman In Gold"––a portrait by Klimt of Altmann's aunt, Adele Bloch-Bauer––hung in Austria's National Gallery after it was plundered by the Nazis in 1941 and was known as the Mona Lisa of Austria.  In 2000, Altmann, by then in her eighties, and her young lawyer, Randol "Randy" Schoenberg (Ryan Reynolds), sue Austria to regain the portrait and other paintings by Klimt that rightfully belong to Altmann.

I love this movie because it brings history to life and because of the relationship that develops between Altmann and Schoenberg, an aspect of the script that is clever without being sappy. The quest for the artwork also leads Schoenberg to learn more about his own family's heritage.

Woman In Gold earns The Janie Junebug Seal of Highest and Most Worthy Approval. I urge you to watch it with children who are old enough to understand the historical significance of the theft of artwork by the Nazis.

Other movies that can lead to a more specific understanding of the Nazis' relationship to stolen art include The Monuments Men, and even better, the documentary The Rape of Europa.

I want to tell you more about Maria Altmann and the paintings by Klimt, but to avoid spoilers, I shall wait until tomorrow. With a separate post available, you can read it when you are ready to do so.

Happy viewing! I hope you love and appreciate this movie, which I watched on a DVD delivered by my friendly neighborhood mail carrier from Netflix, with whom I have a close, personal relationship. The friendly neighborhood mail carrier, we're not so close.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Here is the spectacular portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer
by Gustav Klimt.

22 comments:

  1. I can't wait for the spoiler. It sounds like a very intriguing story. Do they find the lost art? I shall return.

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    1. Of course they find the art. My review says it was hanging in the Austrian National Gallery. The question is "Do they win the lawsuit against Austria and get the art back?"

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    2. I wrote it because I'm an evil person. My ex-husband said so.

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  2. Hi Janie - it's a brilliant movie - I so enjoyed it - learnt lots too - as you mention re Austria, art, Europe and WW1 ... it was fascinating ... there's a documentary "Adele's Wish" that I've got, but have yet to watch ... about the struggle Altmann had to get her paintings back.

    Cheers Hilary

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    1. I'm thrilled that it has your approval, Hilary.

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  3. I've not seen that film but will seek it out. I love Helen Mirren.

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    1. I hope you love it. Helen Mirren is excellent, as always.

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  4. My Rare One and I loved this movie too! We also enjoyed Monument Men.

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  5. Loved this well-acted, factual story.

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  6. Got this one in my queue. Looks really interesting! If you liked it, I'm sure I will, too. :)

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    1. Oh, yes. I'm sure you'll like it. Can you imagine what it would be like if we lived in the same place? We'd have the TV on, staring at a movie. When it was over, one of us would murmur, Did you like it? The other would say, Oh, yes, I loved it. Or we might pause it from time to time to discuss a plot point or something that doesn't come off quite right. Then you'd go to work on your crafts. You could fold me up kind of like a tray table or lawn chair and put me in a corner and then get me out when you're ready to watch again. No more palmetto bugs for me. I had one last night right here in the office. He ran across the room, bold as brass, and went under the desk. I squirted him with bug spray. He ran out, straight toward me on a mission to make me scream. He succeeded, but I stomped on him about ten times and finally flushed his dead body down the toilet. I screamed the entire time. I'm afraid I'll break my foot someday because I have to stomp so hard.

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  7. Never saw this one, but I did see The Monuments Men and enjoyed it.

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    1. I think Woman In Gold and The Rape of Europa are much better than The Monuments Men.

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  8. I haven't seen Woman In Gold but I did see Monuments Men and enjoyed it.
    Have a good one.

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    1. I hope you give Woman In Gold a try.

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  9. The Train, a 1964 film, is another excellent film about the art theft by the Nazi's. I did see this painting when I was in Vienna back in 1993 and it is beautiful. I am glad I had the ability to see it. I want to see this film

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    1. I'm not aware of The Train. You know about a lot of movies, Birgit.

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  10. Sounds like a consensus of opinion here. Looks like everyone who saw this movie loved it. Thanks for the recommendation.

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    1. You're welcome. Thank you for reading and commenting. I hope you watch it and join the "loved it" group.

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