On the flight back to Dubai I watched Woman in Gold – my mother recommended it and she was so right! Helen Mirren and Ryan Reynolds both put in Stirling performances during their portrayal of a fascinating and amazingly true story.
Helen Mirren plays Maria Altmann, a Vienniese Jewess who fled Vienna with her husband during WW2. During flashbacks you realise that she came from a very wealthy family and that her uncle had commissioned art works by Klimt, the most famous being the painting ‘Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I’. It transpires this and various other artworks were stolen by the Nazi’s and Maria decides the time has come to get them back.
So enters Ryan Reynolds the young lawyer she hires to help her. He is rather out of his depth but totally determined to win. The case eventually means they have to go back to Vienna. Maria had vowed never to go back and when you see her there you realise how the survivors of the Holocaust lost not just their family, things and homes but also their country and their nationhood. This feels especially poignant at a time when everyone has an opinion on Migrants and refugees.
I don’t want to give too much away because I definitely think it’s worth a watch. My grandmother had a close friend who was from Vienna and who also fled the Nazi’s and oddly Helen Mirren reminded me of her – she has managed to capture the accent perfectly.
Maria Altmann with the portrait of her aunt Adele.