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Austria is a country with a rich history and filled with a people proud of their nation. History took a horrible turn for the worst with the rise of the Nazi’s who put an unspeakably ugly grip on the European continent under the brutal demagoguery of Adolf Hitler. Jews in the nation were persecuted, slaughtered and robbed of their personal possessions.
One of the many families that felt the excruciating oppression of the Nazis were the Altmann’s. They were torn apart by the Nazi take-over. As a family, survival meant some stayed behind while others fled for their lives.
While the Altmann’s fled the Nazi took over their home and stole their art treasures. The portrait of Aunt Adele by Klimt was the center piece. She was the sparkling painting decked in gold leaf throughout, a thorough masterpiece.
Maria Altmann has aged into her senior years when she discovers that she may have a chance of recovering her family paintings through an intricate series of hearings. She taps a relative, he is a young inexperienced lawyer. She trusts him and chases her dream of being reunited with what was once her family’s property.
It is an arduous legal battle. The venue for the grinding litigation starts in Austria, moves to America and finishes with arbitration in Austria. Justice is ultimately served.
Strong performances by both lead actors drives the story. Even the supporting roles of the Austrian patriot trying to make amends for his father’s unexplainable choices adds to the story. The viewer is treated to a long story which is unfolded in a short movie. It is a true story that makes anyone who is a real human being cheer for the little person.
When a wrong is corrected, then I am riveted to the story. Set up a Goliath and his brother against a little David and I am paying attention. Maybe governmental bureaucracy and the smug attitude of arrogant people will always get my goat.
Certainly, this one bright story among so many that are still hoping for redemption makes this victory shine so brightly. I liked this movie. In fact I really liked this movie and I am glad that I saw it and I recommend it to you.
Helen Mirren is a favorite. Ryan Reynolds was splendid. Bruhl and Holmes were great supporting roles. Now, I would take that opportunity to see the painting for myself if I am ever in the area.
photo credit: brucefong cellphone photography