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Woman in Gold is copy of something we’ve seen many times before

This photo provided by The Weinstein Company shows, Helen Mirren, left, and Ryan Reynolds, in a scene from the film, "Woman in Gold."

Robert Viglasky/The Associated Press

2.5 out of 4 stars

Title
Woman in Gold
Written by
Alexi Kaye Campbell, E. Randol Schoenberg, Maria Altmann
Directed by
Simon Curtis
Starring
Helen Mirren, Ryan Reynolds, Tatiana Maslany

What might the real woman in gold have made of Woman in Gold?

More than a century ago, Adele Bloch-Bauer was a rebel, a socialist socialite who, with her industrialist husband, hosted a popular salon that championed Vienna's avant-garde. Gustav Klimt painted her portrait twice, and likely bedded her even more. Decades later the portraits, looted by the Nazis, became the centre of a landmark art-restitution case – and now, of a Hollywood film based on the case.

In Woman in Gold, Helen Mirren plays Adele's flinty, frisky niece, Maria Altmann, who teams with the callow and hungry lawyer Randol Schoenberg (Ryan Reynolds) to become an "odd couple" David against the Goliath of the Austrian government.

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Beset by portentous dialogue and a clockwork screenplay, Mirren and Reynolds (and Canada's Tatiana Maslany, who radiates in her scenes as the newlywed Maria) breathe what life they can into their cardboard roles. Director Simon Curtis milks the predictable drama, thrills and heartache of the Holocaust-era story, but it's a paint-by-numbers triumph, a copy of something we've seen many times before.

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About the Author
Senior Media Writer

Simon Houpt is the Globe and Mail's senior media writer, charged with covering the industry's transformation. He began his career with The Globe in 1999 as the paper's New York arts correspondent, covering the cultural life of that city through Canadian eyes. More

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