DENNIS SCHWARTZ Movie Reviews

WOMAN IN GOLD (director: Simon Curtis; screenwriter: Alexi Kaye Campbell/ based on the life stories of E. Randol Schoenberg & Maria Altmann; cinematographer: Ross Emery; editor: Peter Lambert; music:  Martin Phipps/Hans Zimmer; cast:  Helen Mirren (Maria Altmann), Ryan Reynolds (Randy Schoenberg), Daniel Brühl (Hubertus Czernin), Katie Holmes (Pam Schoenberg), Tatiana Maslany (Young Maria Altman), Max Irons (Fritz Altmann), Charles Dance (Sherman), Antje Traue (Adele Bloch-Bauer), Elizabeth McGovern (Judge Florence Cooper), Jonathan Pryce (Chief Justice William Rehnquist), Frances Fisher (Barbara Schoenberg) and Moritz Bleibtreu (Gustav Klimt); Runtime: 110; MPAA Rating: PG-13; producers: David M. Thompson/Kris Thykier; The Weinstein Company; 2015-UK/USA

"The only reason the film should draw your attention is to catch the great Helen Mirren, who despite her usual fine acting can't save this dull drama."

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Simon Curtis is a Brit filmmaker noted for TV movies. His mediocre docudrama is a garish, heavy-handed, sentimental drama of the Nazis rape of the art world of Europe that results in a courtroom battle over stolen art. It's based on the true story of Maria Altmann, who co-wrote the non-fiction book with E. Randol Schoenberg (grandson of the composer Arnold Schoenberg ). Ms. Altmann is a wealthy octogenarian Austrian Jew, who fled the Nazi occupied Austria during the war and in the late 1990s settled down in LA. The only reason the film should draw your attention is to catch the great Helen Mirren, who despite her usual fine acting can't save this dull drama.

The Jewish exile Maria Altmann (Helen Mirren) after the war seeks the return of a valuable Gustav Klimt painting, “Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I,” whose subject is often referred to as Austria's Mona Lisa, which was stolen by the Nazis from her home. A miscast Ryan Reynolds plays the nice young Jewish lawyer, a family friend, she hires to handle the complicated international court case. The present  owner is a Vienna gallery, which refuses to return the art piece to its rightful owner.

The uninspired pic only takes us to places we have often been to in courtroom dramas. The fine ensemble cast can only do so much with the woeful material. The bad guys now are the modern Austrians, who are smug, anti-Semitic and nationalistic. The good guys help the sympathetic Holocaust refugee, and take her case to the United States Supreme Court..

REVIEWED ON 11/13/2015       GRADE: C+

Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"

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