Let's start this thing then. I thought about starting with some really iconic movie, or my favourite, but then I realised that this is gonna be about every movie I see, basically, so I will just start off with the movie I watched most recently. Woman in gold. So let's see where this thing leads...
There is one essential detail that could make or break a movie. It is a detail which leaves the story and its characters in a perfectly new light in our eyes after we find it out. It is whether the movie is based on a true story, or not. It is a universally known fact, at least to me, that our own lives, the real life, are prominently more boring than the ones portrayed on the screen. The plot twists aren’t as shocking, the characters aren’t as thought through and the settings aren’t as breath taking. Despite this, we make do. On the other hand, when we sit down in the theater, or on our sofa which is more often the case, we do expect to experience something more than what we will have after we turn off the tv and return to our own life. We want to be blown away and shockingly surprised, as well as being affected by unknown feelings and getting our heart rate sped up.
This is why it is, as in the case of Woman in Gold, essential to know beforehand, or at least after seeing the movie, that the story is based on true events. The move with Ryan Reynolds and Helen Mirren is relatively catching and worthwhile way to spend the better part of two hours, but it doesn’t leave the trace of wondering and after thought as a movie’s purpose is. At least, not until one finds out that the storyline and the events actually happened in real life. That Maria Altman lived in the beautiful apartment filled with incredible paintings, before she had to flee and her home was ransacked by Nazis. That Randy Schönberg, the ascendant of Austrian composer Arnold Schönberg, took Altman’s case because of the money, but ended up so emotionally invested in the conflict that he sued the Austrian government and took them to the Supreme Court of the United States. When we find out that the story is real, that’s when the movie begins to affect us. That’s when the characters come to life and the not so catching story becomes everything we can afford to think about for the next days. Before we know this, the movie is simply a slightly different take on the aftermath of world war II, with a captivating story, but nothing that leaves a dent in our minds. The great making of this movie and why it goes from good to great, is the fact that when we watch it or remember it, we do so with the knowledge that these events are true. The events in the movie become incredible when we realise that they have actually happened, because while they aren’t as captivating and emotionally affecting as made up stories usually are, they are far more exciting than our own real lives and they aren’t fiction.
For me, one of the most important parts of the story is that this whole case, that dragged on for six years and involved a young lawyer against a whole nation, is all to restore justice between people and people after the terrible events of world war II. The director and screenwriter has made a script that emphasises the importance of righteousness after something as grave as the Nazis’ rule. As a viewer, one can feel how much this one legal case concerning one woman and a few paintings belonging to her family, has so much impact and effect on the world view after the war. It is of great, great importance to every Jew and every person who were affected and treated horribly by the Nazis. The return of the paintings to their rightful owner is an avowal of the wrongful mistakes made by Austria towards the Jews. Finally, after more than half a century it is acknowledged that the way the government and the Nazi-friendly people acted, was wrong.
All in all, the movie is an interesting story about something that I wish I had been old enough to understand and remember when it happened. The movie is filled to the rim with great actors that raise the movie towards the skies like great actors do, and Simon Curtis has done an amazing job in creating scenes and situations that generates feelings of how horrible and wonderful the different events of this story really was when they happened.