I figured since I watched two films in a row that were both based on true stories that I would go for a third in a row. The film I chose to watch is called Woman In Gold and it stars Helen Mirren (The Queen) as Maria Altmann, an Austrian woman who was forced to leave her home during the invasion of the Nazis in the 1940’s. In her home was a very expensive painting of her aunt Adele Bloch-Bauer (Antje Traue) that was commissioned by Gustav Klimt that was taken by the Nazis and brought to a museum in Austria. Now it’s over 50 years later and Maria wants her painting back so that she can reclaim what is rightfully hers to begin with. So, she hires a young lawyer by the name of Randy Schoenberg (Ryan Reynolds) who risks everything to try and make Maria happy. The film also stars Katie Holmes (Batman Begins) as Pam Schoenberg, Daniel Brühl (Captain America: Civil War) as Hubertus Czernin, Tatiana Maslany (The Vow) as Young Maria Altmann, Max Irons (The Host) as Fritz Altmann, Charles Dance (Last Action Hero) as Sherman, Allan Corduner (Defiance) as Gustav Bloch-Bauer, and the film was directed by Simon Curtis (My Week With Marilyn).
I was having a conversation with someone earlier about Ryan Reynolds and what we love seeing him in. Deadpool was such a natural role for him just as much as Waiting or Van Wilder were. I couldn’t take him serious enough in the Amityville remake, but I can see him in roles like Self/Less and definitely in this one. He was given a chance to hang with an actress like Helen Mirren and I think he did a pretty good job with it. There were times when his serious acting were a little shaky, but he would always bounce back nicely. Helen Mirren was masterful as usual in her performance as the tough and rugged Maria Altmann, but there is one moment that stands out to me. She was this tough cookie throughout the whole film, but for a moment she emotionally breaks down and the walls come tumbling down. After years of constantly fighting the negative aspects of her life, she was finally able to let go and move on remembering the good times. I want to give a shout out to Daniel Brühl who might have had a minor role in the film, but he was also masterful. The gold leaf painting itself is remarkable and to find an actress that kind of looks like the woman in gold was a good catch as well. It’s not the best film in the world, but it’s a very good one that tells a take of redemption and restitution. I am going to give the Woman In Gold an B+ for a final grade. Check out the painting below:
I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t get to read a lot of books with everything I have going on, but that is when I thank God when a book gets turned into a film. That is the case with today’s film The Giver which is based off of the book of the same name and released in 2014. Jonas (Brenton Thwaites) lives in a world that seems a little too perfect where there is no war, no pain, no suffering, and everything is pre-destined for you. That is right, when you turn a certain age, a job is selected for you. That all seems grand for everyone until Jonas is chosen to be the receiver of memories and to be taught by the giver (Jeff Bridges). The Giver opens up Jonas’s mind to things he had never seen in his life or imagined were possible and so Jonas wants to change the world he lives in, but he’ll face opposition from the elders. The film also stars Meryl Streep (The Devil Wears Prada) as Chief Elder, Alexander Skarsgård (Generation Kill) as Father, Katie Holmes (Batman Begins) as Mother, Odeya Rush (Goosebumps) as Fiona, Cameron Monaghan (Click) as Asher, Taylor Swift as Rosemary, and the film was directed by Phillip Noyce (Salt).
The concept of the film should seem rather familiar to a lot of you book worms out there especially if you are a fan of the Maze Runner or Divergent series. A dystopian society that hides the ugliness of what happened in the past world. A life that is pre-determined for you right from birth, that should sound familiar to Divergent fans. These types of things happen all the time as it’s just in movies or music, but books do it too. An idea comes out that was really captivating and years later people expand on it and create their own universes. It also shouldn’t be a surprise that they released this film to try and capitalize on the popularity of those films too, but I am glad this is a one and done (or at least I think it is). Now I am not saying that I didn’t enjoy the film because I actually was pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed it. I thought everything about it was actually very good and I am talking from the set, the acting, and the score were all amazing. The cinematography was well done and the different sets were terrific. I also liked the insert of the memories which included real life events as well as other things. The soundtrack is what stood out to me the most because it matched the typical mood and emotion of the film. I love how the film is mostly in black and white until Jonas starts to see color while others cannot. I thought that was very cool and it added emphasis to the change he was going through. If you were a fan of the book or you enjoy films like this, then check it out. For a final grade, it was hard to decide, but I am putting it on the B+/A- line.