The Woman in Gold

We should be reunited with what is rightfully ours.- Maria Altman

Sometimes there are movies that are so powerful that they just stick with you.  Last night, my mom and I went to see The Woman in Gold which stars Helen Mirren.  The film was fabulous and we even found ourselves talking about it this morning.  The Woman in Gold tells the true of story of an Austrian woman, Maria Altman, who was forced to leave her home and family during the Nazi invasion of WWII.

Nearly 60 years after fleeing Vienna, Maria, who is now living in California, inherits her sister’s possessions after her death.  Among them is a letter regarding unsuccessful attempts to be reunited with 5 Klimt paintings that had belonged to their family, which were stolen by the Nazis, and now reside in Austria’s Belvedere Gallery.  The most famous painting of them all is Gustav Klimt’s Portrait of Adele Bloch Bauer I.   Adele was the beloved aunt of Maria and her sister.

Gustav Klimt’s portrait; The Woman in Gold.

Maria as a young girl with her aunt Adele.

Maria now believes she has a case for restitution and wants nothing more than to right the injustices of the past.  She seeks the counsel of a young lawyer, Randy Schoenberg, who is also the son of Austrian immigrants.  Together they embark on an amazing journey to be reunited with what is rightfully hers.

The legal battle they undertake takes Maria all the way back to Austria to confront the painful memories of her past.  The scenery of the gilded world Maria grew up in is so beautiful and made me fall in love with the movie even more.  Plus, the tale of her harrowing escape out of Austria had me literally on the edge of my seat.

If you love art and history, you won’t want to miss this film.

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