This riveting movie stars Helen Mirren and Ryan Reynolds. It is a true story about the Nazi invasion of Austria, and the Government of Austria’s confiscation of the 1907 portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer, a Jewishwoman married to wealthy sugar magnate, Ferdinand Bloch-Bauer. It was painted by world renowned Austrian artist Gustav Klimt.
In 1998 the Austrian government passed a new law, promoted by its Green Party, which called for the return of art stolen during World War II. The niece of Adele Bloch-Bauer, Maria Altmann, learned upon the death of her sister, that there was a will designating the disposition of this portrait. From that vantage point, Mrs. Altmann embarks on a quest to reclaim it. This story focuses on the Austrian government’s subsequent resistance to enforcing its own law. The movie includes many flashbacks of the main character’s life in Austria as a Jew under the Nazi regime. It is, at times, difficult to watch, however it’s raw accuracy is compelling and necessary. Thankfully, Maria Altmann and her devoted attorney won the case against the Austrian government and recovered the portrait, which now is on exhibit in the Neue Galerie New York.
This movie is a must see in terms of its historic significance and its assertion that through perseverance righteousness can prevail.