It is hard to imagine that a film about the devastating effects of the Nazi occupation of Austria could be beautiful but Woman in Gold is just that.
The film takes its premise from the true story of Maria Altmann (Helen Mirren), a Jewish woman who fled Vienna during World War II to escape persecution. Brought up in a wealthy family, she had a sister and along with her parents lived in an exclusive apartment with her aunt Adele and husband. After Altmann fled, her family home was seized by the Nazis along with all their possessions including a painting of Adele Bloch-Bauer by artist Gustav Klimt.
Years later Altmann, who lives in the US, is keen to retrieve the Klimt painting after discovering her aunt’s will soon after the death of her sister. The painting hangs in Austria where it is much admired and known as the Mona Lisa of Austria. With the help of a young lawyer (Ryan Reynolds), Altmann sets about attempting to retrieve the paintings that originally belonged to her family.
Throughout the film Altmann flashes back to her youth, a time of great joy until Germany annexed Austria into the Third Reich. Max Irons, son of Jeremy Irons, plays Fritz, the young opera singer Altmann marries. As they make their escape the haunting sounds of the cello echo, played by Altmann’s father as he farewells the Austria he once loved along with his daughter and her new husband.
The film has an outstanding cast including Charles Dance (The Imitation Game) , Tatiana Maslany (Orphan Black), Katie Holmes (Batman Begins) and Daniel Bruhl (Rush).
Woman in Gold is a moving film about restitution and justice. Set to the backdrop of staggering art and haunting music, this film is a must see.
The film is out in cinemas across Australia tomorrow.
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