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Helen Mirren

Helen Mirren Shines in The Woman In Gold

By Ranny Levy, President/Founder KidsFirst!

This film stars Helen Mirren as Maria Altmann, an octogenarian Jewish refugee, who takes on the government to recover artwork she believes rightfully belongs to her family. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Susana H. comments, “Personally, it has everything I’m looking for – a little bit of action and seriousness and actually has somewhat to do with history, the Holocaust to be exact.” Willie J. adds, “I was completely invested. The story is enough to take my heart, for I can easily empathize. Then, there is the performance of Helen Mirren to wrench your heart.” See their full reviews below.
Woman In Gold

Reviewed by Susana H., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

Video review: https://youtu.be/fDShgYcHExc

Woman in Gold, an intriguing and true-life story, is excellent. Personally, it has everything I’m looking for – a little bit of action and seriousness and actually has somewhat to do with history, the Holocaust to be exact. There are very strong characters to play out the story including Rondol Schoenberg or Randy (Ryan Reynolds) and Maria Altmann (Helen Mirren), which of course, has to be my favorite character. Even for an older woman, she is so sassy and confident, which I reminded me of myself. What really caught my attention is the writer and director’s use of flashbacks throughout the entire movie because we are looking into Maria’s past life during the Holocaust. Most of the time, flashbacks in parts of movies can be confusing. It’s almost as if they are telling two completely different stories at once. In this case, it’s done very well.

Woman in Gold is a true story based on Maria Altmann’s experience with the Nazi’s cruelty. About 60 years after Maria leaves Vienna, she begins her quest to regain one of her dearest family possessions, which have been taken away by the Nazis. Amongst them is a famous painting entitled Woman In Gold, hence the name of the movie. She meets an untrained, young lawyer and together they fight for what rightfully belongs to Maria. Along their path, they are faced with addressing the Austrian government, which is too stubborn to notice what is right from wrong and the U.S. Supreme Court. Throughout her journey she constantly is reminded of her past.

My favorite part definitely has to be from one of the flashbacks. We see the younger Maria and he husband escaping the Nazis and being chased all over town. If you know me, you know I like a bit of action in my movies. They are running to catch a plane to leave Austria. As all of this is taking place, of course, I am holding my breath until they get away and dying to scream when the Nazi officers are right behind them.

The message of this film is to always fight for what you believe is right and never give up. Maria knows those paintings belong to her family and have been forcefully taken away. She knows she has to get them back for the sake of her family’s honor and she does so. She has some help along the way but the motivation is all from her. She will fight to the end to secure the paintings along with her trusted partner by her side and, even though she might give up, Randy is there to support her.

I recommend this movie for people of ages 13 to 18 because it is a serious movie and uses a bit of bad language here and there. I give this excellent movie 5, out of 5 stars due to the strong actors and characters and interesting plot. It opens in theaters nationwide April 1.

Women in Gold

By Willie Jones

Video review: https://youtu.be/kCJqKkvl-Ms

Who would have known The Green Lantern and Queen Elizabeth would make such a touching pair? Of course I’m talking about characters that Ryan Reynolds and Helen Mirren have played. They have an unexpectedly heartwarming chemistry in Woman in Gold.

Woman in Gold is about the quest of a lawyer named Randol and an heir named Maria who attempt to get back a painting that belongs to Maria. The painting is of Maria’s aunt, and was stolen by Nazis after they killed Maria’s family and Maria fled.

I was completely invested. The story is enough to take my heart, for I can easily empathize. But then you have the performance of Helen Mirren to wrench your heart. Don’t get me wrong, Ryan Reynolds has one of the best scenes in the film and gives one of his finest performances ever (if not his best), but it is Helen Mirren that makes this movie. She’s gone from a French accent (The Hundred Foot Journey), to an Austrian accent for this film. In the past, her British accent hasn’t been too bad either … (yes, that was a joke).

The passion and vulnerability with which Dame Mirren plays Maria had me holding back tears. She’s so emotionally present, and emotionally versatile. She’ll make you laugh or cry or brim with anger, but she always delivers.

The sentiment of the film must also be attributed to director Simon Curtis, who makes his directorial debut with this film. He is a very visual director, he likes to tell the story in imagery and pictures. Curtis has an amazing feel for timing. When to cut to a flashback, how long to keep the flashback, how to tie it in with the main plot, etc.

The flashback scenes, by the way, are stunning. The sepia/golden cinematography is gorgeous to look at, and is very intelligent. It certainly adds an element of nostalgia that plays towards Maria, our eyes, and the emotion of the story.

Woman in Gold is a fantastic directorial debut for Simon Curtis. The film touches you deeper than you think it might, and the journey is one you won’t regret. For that reason, I give Woman in Gold 4 .5 out of 5 stars. I recommend it for ages 13 to 18. It can be seen at a local theater near you.


Ranny Levy – Founder and President

KIDS FIRST! / Coalition for Quality Children’s Media Supporting Quality Media for Children Since 1991

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Christine Crosby

About the author

Christine is the co-founder and editorial director for GRAND Magazine. She is the grandmother of five and great-grandmom (aka Grandmere) to one. She makes her home in St. Petersburg, Florida.

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