Woman in Gold (Blu-ray) – Movie Review
Follow Genre: Drama
Director: Simon Curtis
Distributor: Entertainment One
Duration: 109 minutes

Woman in Gold (Blu-ray) – Movie Review

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Good: Fascinating narrative based on a true story, strong cast
Bad: No extra features, poor execution
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Woman in Gold is an emotional and inspiring drama film based on the true story of Maria Altmann, a refugee that found her way to America right before the second world war. When she discovers at an elderly age that Gustav Klimt’s iconic painting of her aunt was stolen by the Nazis during the occupation of the Third Reich in Vienna, she decides to reclaim it via legal means. Her lawyer, a grandson of a famous composer in the same era, and Maria herself stumble upon many hurdles during their pursuit of justice.

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The dramatic film Woman in Gold is based on the true story of Maria Altmann, a survivor of the Holocaust during the occupation of the Third Reich in Vienna. Via series of flashbacks throughout the film, we learn that Maria (Helen Mirren) was born in Austria and witnessed the Jewish suppression in Vienna a mere weeks after she married Fritz Altmann (Max Irons). She sat in the front row as the Nazis plundered the homes of Jewish families, including her own. In the mean time, the Nazis had taken extreme measurements to prevent any Jew from crossing the border, effectively shutting down any plans to flee the country. Scared of the future and the nightmares it may hold, Maria and Fritz attempted to flee to the United States of America nonetheless. Successful at their escape, they found themselves in New York for a short while before they reunited with Maria’s sister whom had successfully escaped Vienna even before the occupation began.

Decades later, Maria finds herself attending the funeral of her sister Louise and stumbles upon letters from an Austrian lawyer containing information of Gustav Klimt’s iconic painting of Maria’s aunt Adele Bloch-Bauer (Antje Traue). She recalls both the painting and her aunt quite well and calls in the help of a young and unsuccessful lawyer to help retrieve the painting which currently resides in a museum in Vienna. A call for restitution was announced but as the painting “Woman in Gold” is most iconic in the Austrian culture, they stumble upon many hurdles – leaving them without hope of any justice. Randol ‘Randy’ Schoenberg (Ryan Reynolds), who at first was reluctant to look into the case, finds himself obsessed with it – even feeling a connection to the injustice done to Maria and many other families like his own – and decides to sue the government of Austria against Maria’s wishes. The legal battle continues all the way up to the Supreme Court of the United States which ruled in their favor but the battle had not been won yet as they take it to an arbitration panel in Vienna, Austria.

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Narratives such as these, based on true stories, are always fascinating to some extent and the story of Maria Altmann is certainly one that should be remembered. But despite the excellent performance of the actors, the execution is poorly done resulting in a long-winded and rather dull film. The flashbacks to events before and during the invasion of the Nazis were certainly a nice addition and tells the entire tale of Maria’s life. However if it wasn’t for those emotional recollections of the past, the film would have been trash-worthy. In spite of this, the film is an intense impression of the injustice done to many during those dark times without any action sequences.

As for acting performances, Ryan Reynolds who portrayed Randy Schoenberg is a fine actor and while he put down an excellent performance, he wasn’t able to truly shine in the film. The same can be said for Helen Mirren whom portrayed the haunted elderly Maria Altmann. As the film reveals flashbacks, Maria is also portrayed by Nellie Schilling and Tatiana Maslany in other stages of her life. The cast is strengthened with actors such as Katie Holmes (portraying Pamela Schoenberg) and Daniel Brühl (as Hubertus Czernin) but again, a strong cast does not mean a movie excels.

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Don’t expect to lengthen the view time with any extra’s as the Blu-ray disc does not feature any. A sad fact really as even short interviews of this historical case would have been appealing, especially given the fact that the painting has a rich history. A gag reel would have also been welcome after such an intense and heartfelt story.


Woman in Gold reveals the fascination story of Maria Altmann and her inquisition to reclaim Klimt’s famous painting of her aunt. Be that as it may, the implementation of such a intriguing narrative was poorly done despite a strong performance of both Ryan Reynolds and Helen Mirren. The recollections of past events do spice up the otherwise long-winded film, ensuring an intensive and emotional rollercoaster. All-in-all the film is rather meager but it is certainly worthy to watch once for the storyline as long as you don’t expect any action sequences in the likes of war films such as Saving Private Ryan and Enemy at the Gates.

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Hi! I'm Jess and I’m a writer, dreamer and gamer at heart since the early ages. I primarily game on PC but occasionally also on PS4 and Xbox One. I have a tiny obsession for World of Warcraft and caterpillars but you may also claim I have a devoted passion for the gaming industry in general. If you want to hit me up, find me on twitter!