RE-VIEW: ‘Based on a more interesting true story’

Woman in Gold, in cinemas now.
Woman in Gold, in cinemas now. BBC Films/Allstar

Re-View, with Matt Murphy - The DEX columnist

TIMELINE - America 1998. World War II ended 53 years ago. A distant memory and most want it left as such. Except one woman. Helen Mirren plays Jewish Austrian-American Holocaust survivor Maria Altmann, now an 80-something small boutique owner in sunny California, at peace with her little life. But with the recent death of her sister, she discovers letters and documents possibly proving ownership of priceless family artworks now displayed in Viennese museum.

The most famous, a painting of her late Aunt known as 'Woman in Gold' the main attraction of the items that were stolen by the Nazis during WWII. With recent changes to Austrian law regarding Stolen Nazi Art Restitution - and with the help of a reluctant family friend and young lawyer (Ryan Reynolds), Maria sees her chance to reclaim what is rightfully her families and have justice served.

As difficult as it is to structure and pace what is primarily a court and appeal procedural melodrama set over several years, the filmmakers sorta, maybe, kinda, make it work.

Despite the cliched flashbacks and heavy exposition on how everyone is feeling at any given minute.

The problem, and it's hard to admit to this about a Holocaust survivor story with all its Nazi horror, is that I wasn't emotionally engaged with the characters and story.

Even with a subtle nod toward modern day (ok the late 1990s), anti-Semitic feeling in Austria and a brief look at the murky world of the political games played as part of war reparation - say sorry but admit to as little as possible - the film felt a little contrived.

A more in depth look at the situation, apparently around 100,000 pieces of Art still remain unaccounted for (i.e. probably in South America somewhere) and whether current Governments help or hinder the process of justice for these undoubted victims of one of the great horrors in our history, could have been more intriguing.

The cast is solid, Mirren is elegant and bold, easily conveying the motives and pain of a strong, independent survivor.

The rest enjoy the easy ride - not particularly challenged along the way to show any great depth.

Perhaps all relied too heavily on the emotional baggage supplied by a Jewish Survivor 'Underdog' War movie.

So unfortunately, Woman in Gold should come with the tagline…based on a more interesting true story.

Topics:  film matt murphy opinio re-view

Councillors backflip on fee waiver for HSC exams

HSC exam in process

Lysaught fights for youth with fee waiver

Survey launched as part of Grafton Regional Gallery review

Share your views about the Grafton Regional Gallery

Lindsay encouraging residents to share their views about the Gallery

Local Partners

Lights, camera, romance: falling in love on reality TV

As the first celebrity to star in TV’s Bachelorette, Sophie Monk says she really has found ‘the one’.

Revealed: The dark secrets behind The Sound of Music

This iconic scene was not easy to film.

"I lost all four of my teeth across the bottom."

Kylie Minogue’s back on the scene for Kingsman sequel

Australian singer and actress Kylie Minogue poses during the world premiere of the movie Kingsman: The Golden Circle in Leicester square in London.

AUSSIE pop princess makes a triumphant return to the red carpet.

Phillippe ‘bashed lover in drug bender’

Actor Ryan Phillippe is being sued by his ex-girlfriend.

Ryan Phillippe is being sued after an alleged drug-fuelled rampage.

Trapaga to lead our carols

Special guest for Carols for Candlelight Monica Trapaga.

Preparing for hearty sing-along

First Dates cringefest: 'Some girls can't handle it, y'know?'

Abbie suffers through an excruciating date with James on First Dates.

ONE woman has been set up with a guy who has never been on a date.

Bachelorette: The wacky line-up of men waiting for Sophie Monk

Here are the 18 suitors swooning for Sophie Monk.