“This sounded like a fascinating story. And older woman paired with a young and scrappy lawyer, take on the Austrian government in an attempt to reclaim a famous painting that had been stolen from her family by the Nazis. Add in Helen Mirren and Ryan Reynolds as the characters in question, and you’ve got gold. Except something about it felt sappy and trite, so I didn’t run out as quickly as I otherwise would have. I hedged a little and waited to see how it did.
As it turns out, yes the story is quite fascinating. And yes, the storytelling is a little cliche, but that was mostly forgivable due to the previously mentioned strong cast (which also included Katie Holmes and Daniel Bruhl). Sure Mirren may have been playing another version of the same formidable elder that she does so well (see also, The Hundred Foot Journey) and Reynolds may have been more reigned in than his usual zany self (still doing penance for his last few blockbuster disasters), but that didn’t make them any less enjoyable to watch.
Still the main strength was just the story itself. Even if the direction (or the writing) felt a bit emotionally manipulative at times, it doesn’t take away from the fact that this woman’s story is incredible. And not just her efforts to be reunited with the painting, but also her early life and escape in WWII, which we glimpsed in flashbacks. It different hands, it could have been a tour de force of a film. Yet sometimes it’s nice to have some light fare that’s not too demanding.
Ha, it looks like I wasn’t the only one who noticed the striking similarity in posters between this and Reynold’s Safe House a few years back.
Woman in Black – \m/ \m/ \m/ \n”