By Renee’ Collins
Rating: 4.5 (Out of 5 Reels)
Maria Altmann (Helen Mirren), an octogenarian Jewish refugee, takes on the government to recover artwork she believes rightfully belongs to her family (IMDB).
Maria is an unassuming woman who owns a woman’s clothing store in Los Angeles. What sets her apart is having lived in Austria at the beginning of the Second World War. Shortly after her marriage the Nazi invade Austria and begin the persecution of the Jews living there. Her family being rather well to do had a great collection of art throughout their home including a beautiful painting of her aunt, Adele Bloch-Bauer by Gustav Klimt. The painting hung in their home until the Nazi’s raided the house and stole all of their valuables. Years later her sister dies and while going through her belongings finds documents about the painting which set her off on a journey to reclaim her stolen birth wright.
Mirren is a perfect choice for the role of Maria because she is a consummate actor who brings feeling and depth to this character. One cannot help but feel her pain and anguish while confronting the horrors of her past while trying to reclaim what should be hers. Mention must also be made about Ryan Reynolds portrayal of Randol Schoenberg, a fledgling lawyer; a relative of Maria’s who at first unwittingly agrees to take her case. Reynolds is equally spectacular here and compliments Mirren perfectly.
This film is extremely well made and wonderfully acted and should not be missed.