Starring: Helen Mirren, Ryan Reynolds, Daniel Bruhl, Tatiana Maslany, Katie Holmes, Max Irons, Charles Dance, Frances Fisher, Elizabeth McGovern, Allan Corduner
Directed By: Simon Curtis
I don’t think anyone will use the phrase “an exceptional work of staggering genius” when describing Woman In Gold. It’s a perfectly OK film, and not a bad time to spend two hours, but it is just an OK film. Whatever little gravitas it may have is weighed down by the obvious ending coming up, or by Ryan Reynolds sub-par acting. I love Reynolds too, so this isn’t an assault on him as an actor. I just felt he never really connected to his character, and the few scenes where his character broke down emotionally felt uncomfortable to watch because he was off-base. I loved him in Buried, and I think he’s a good actor in most of his roles, but this wasn’t the right film for him. Mirren, as usual, does a fine job. The real breakthrough is probably Tatiana Maslany, who shines as a younger version of Mirren’s character. Usually characters in flashback sequences have a hard time really standing out, but Maslany is terrific. Also, character actor Allan Corduner moved me as her father. In many ways, the actors in the flashback sequences surpass those of the present day.
Then we have Katie Holmes, who was barely given anything to do. Charles Dance is underutilized. Frances Fisher is basically a cameo. So many familiar faces that just pop in and out. Like I said, it’s not that it’s a bad film, because it isn’t. It’s just an imperfect film that could have been so much better with just a little TLC, and some better direction. I’ve seen films where I know the outcome (because it’s based on a true story), and the suspense is still palpable. There’s no suspense here. It’s all gone. If it weren’t for the strong flashback sequences, I’d have scored the film lower.
Wait for DVD or Netflix. There’s nothing here that can’t wait, even Mirren’s solid performance, and Maslany’s breakthrough.
FINAL GRADE: B-