Directed by Simon Curtis (My Week with Marilyn), Helen Mirren stars as Maria Altmann in the historical drama, Woman in Gold. Based on the true story of Maria Altmann, a Jewish immigrant living in the United States, who seeks to reclaim a painting of her aunt, the notable ‘Woman In Gold’, that was stolen by the Nazis before WWII. In her mission, she seeks the help of inexperienced lawyer, Randy Schoenberg (Ryan Reynolds) to appeal to the Supreme Court of United States and recover a precious family heirloom.
In Philomena fashion, Woman in Gold is visually moving because of the realistic and historical aspect of the story. As usual, Mirren gives an outstanding performance filled with empathy and realism, truthfully portraying the sadness and fragility of being a widow and losing something familial and valuable. Likewise, Reynolds gives a solid dramatic performance, albeit short of it being powerful and notable. As the counterpart to Mirren’s character, Reynolds provides lighter fare amongst the sweeping story.
In what could have been an ultimately touching and affecting film, Woman in Gold fails to show depth and sentimentality, partially due to the weak execution of the narrative. Unfortunately, many of the scenes are rushed which leaves the film dry and unemotional. The film frequently cuts from real time to flashback scene, leaving no room for emotional impact. Luckily, an outstanding score was employed to accompany the historically story, a great effort by veterans Hans Zimmer and Martin Phipps. The grand and poignant music emphasises the majestic background of past times.
Nevertheless, director Curtis effectively and truthfully demonstrates the real life story of Altmann and the famous case of the Woman in Gold through genuine acting performances and solid storylines. The overall production was successful in driving the story and recounting the true events of such an artistic and cultural case. Mirren and Reynolds showcase exceptional performance in Woman in Gold, setting great character-driven plots amongst the historical narrative of both WWII and present day.