|The Frankfurt-Tipp rating:|
|Original title:||The Woman in Gold|
|Production country:||USA 2015|
|Running time:||Ca. 109 min.|
|Rated:||From 6 years|
The young lawyer Randy Schoenberg (Ryan Reynolds) thinks he only has to listen to the confused remarks of an elderly lady when Maria Altmann (Helen Mirren) asks him to help her sue back valuable heirlooms from the state of Austria. But as he becomes more involved with the case, he realizes what potential there could be for his career. Because the heirlooms are extremely valuable paintings by Gustav Klimt - above all the famous "Woman in Gold". The pictures had been stolen from Maria's family by the Nazis. Actually, Austria should return the pictures to the rightful heiress. But the state refused to part with the valuable works of one of Austria's most important painters. Randy decides to help Maria fight for her right. This begins a long odyssey for the two of them, which demands a particularly heavy sacrifice from Maria: she has to face the demons of her past and return to Vienna - back to the place that is associated with so much suffering and loss...
With "Die Frau in Gold" director Simon Curtis has once again dedicated himself to an icon after "My Week with Marilyn". In this case, it is the woman in one of Gustav Klimt's most famous paintings who has been the subject of a bitter legal dispute. The discussion about the restitution of looted art is an important, but also a very sensitive topic. The case of Maria Altmann in particular makes it clear how difficult it is to come to terms with the injustice that many private art collectors experienced during the Second World War. However, the movie also shows very nicely that it's about a lot more than just the art objects. It shows which fates and traumatic experiences are connected with them, which of course makes the call for justice all the louder.
Although the representatives of Austria, above all Justus von Dohnányi as Maria's three-man opponent, are not particularly sympathetically portrayed, the film also makes clear what significance a work of art like "The Woman in Gold" can have for the owners, who perhaps are not the rightful owners, at least morally speaking. Thus, the film inspires an interesting discourse, which can also be transferred to many other cases of this kind. Curtis deserves credit for not making a dry court drama out of the case, but for never losing sight of the entertainment value of the story.
Helen Mirren and Ryan Reynolds are a very good team who, with a lot of dry humour, offer a good, loosening counterweight to the very dramatic flashbacks to Vienna during the Second World War. In these scenes Tatjana Maslany, known from the outstanding TV series "Orphan Black", offers as young Maria an extremely convincing and intensive performance, while Tom Schilling is allowed to show his particularly cold side. In any case, Curtis has found excellent actors even for small supporting roles, whereby only Katie Holmes as Randy Schoenberg's wife Pam and Max Irons as Maria's husband Fritz remain a little pale.
"Die Frau in Gold" is a very good example of how serious and socially important topics can be implemented amusingly, pleasantly easily and yet profoundly. A very nice film, which touches, but at the same time is a lot of fun. And the very good interplay of Helen Mirren and Ryan Reynolds comforts easily over minor dramaturgical weaknesses, with which there is no good reason to miss this work. Therefore applies to lovers of the slightly more sophisticated entertainment cinema: absolutely recommended!
An article by Frankfurt-Tipp