“Woman In Gold”

“Woman In Gold”
Directed by  Simon Curtis

woman_in_gold_header-620x325This is a perfectly decent film. It picks up (with more detail) where “The Monuments Men” left off, while also acting as a damnation of Austria’s part in the before, during and after of the Shoah. It’s better than Monument’s Men, which was a real mess of a movie, but it’s certainly not a great film. It feels a little too light for the subject matter and much of the script chooses cutesiness and sentimentality over pain and suffering…almost like a RomCom. Oy vey.

But the real reason I write about this film is that, somehow, the SAG Nominating Committee decided to bestow a nomination on Helen Mirren for her portrayal of the elder Maria Altmann, niece to the subject of Klimt’s quite famous portrait, “Adele,” the lynch-pin of the film’s action. She’s very good. Very good. But it is not a good enough script to afford her enough dimensionality to differentiate her work in this from any other performance where she has portrayed a historical entity. Except for the accent, it’s a typical Mirren performance…emotionally strong, not too terribly vulnerable and occasionally sublime. Tatiana Maslany, on the other hand, is superb. Listen, I could watch her read a phone book, and NO one can put on someone else’s skin like the “Orphan Black” girl. But here, she is more nuanced, more emotional, and more heartbreaking than anything we’ve seen her do before. And, by the way, more real than anyone else in this film. How come I never heard her name mentioned anywhere? Maybe because they don’t even credit her in the trailer. And the less said about Ryan Reynolds, who is WOEFULLY miscast, the better.

If I sound like I’m being overly harsh, it’s because I’m so annoyed with the NomComm for choosing this performance over many other deserving actors (like Lily Tomlin, Charlotte Rampling, or Carey Mulligan), especially since Ms. Mirren was ALSO nominated for her work in a supporting role in “Trumbo” (which WAS deserving).

Martin Phipps (with Hans Zimmer) has written a beautiful score, perhaps too good a score for this film. And even though Phipps is credited with most of the writing, it sounds an awful lot like “Interstellar” (which makes you wonder just how much of that score he also wrote). Regardless, worth a listen if you do such things.

“Woman in Gold” is significantly better than meh, but not really close to enthralling. Sorry NomComm, you blew this one.

Written 1/7/2016

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