A little over a year ago, an all-star cast convened to tell us the story of the Nazi plunder—when the Third Reich confiscated great works of art throughout Europe—and how a U.S. platoon, commissioned by FDR, was tasked with rescuing the stolen masterpieces and returning them to their rightful owners.
But despite a fascinating story and a dazzling cast—including George Clooney, Matt Damon, Bill Murray, John Goodman, and Cate Blanchett—The Monuments Men was anything but monumental. Their platoon indeed rescued many valuable pieces . . . but there was no rescuing the movie itself. It bombed with critics and audiences.
But now here comes Helen Mirren to the rescue in Woman in Gold. (And really, when has Helen Mirren not come to the rescue?) Woman in Gold is another true-story film about the Nazi plunder—and one Jewish woman’s battle to recover her own family’s stolen art—six decades after German soldiers took it from her family’s gorgeous Vienna home.
Mirren plays Maria Altman, who fled Austria as a young newlywed, just as the Nazis were taking over. She and husband Fritz made a narrow, harrowing escape—an edge-of-your-seat scene in the film—while leaving everything behind, including their homes, their belongings, and their families.
Mirren is her usual stellar self, but the pleasant surprise here is Ryan Reynolds, who plays Randol Schoenberg, a young lawyer helping Altman in her quest to recoup her family’s lost art. Reynolds’ only acting awards are preceded by adjectives like “Teen Choice,” “People’s Choice,” and “Fangoria Chainsaw.” I liked him in The Proposal, a rom-com with Sandra Bullock. And ...1