Right now as I’m attempting to construct this review, I’m bewildered as to how I’m going to sit here standing in a line in front of teenagers whom (like myself) are awaiting for us to be let into another theatre to see Furious 7.
Unlike me, they’re being loud, crass, and boisterous, and I’m having a bit of a cry because the film I’ve just seen is so masterfully constructed, that its images, dialogue, flow, mettle, and most importantly, its MESSAGE, will remain with me to the rest of my days.
I will admit without trepidation that I literally spent the last 13 minutes of the film with tears water falling down my face. I’m sitting here now with my eyes blood shot and my heart beating far quicker than it should be.
I’ve been to Wien (Vienna), I’ve been to Auschwitz, I’ve been to Dachau, and I’ve lived many years (happily) in post-World War II Germany. The UK is my blood but Deutschland is my HEART. Most of the scenes that are subtitled in English, I did not need to read in order to understand nearly every word. And for that, I am grateful, and yet heartbroken for all that the Jewish people have endured for the last 70 years.
The Back Story
For those of you who are NOT familiar with the bittersweet story of Frau Maria Atlman, here’s a very quick history lesson.Maria was forced to flee Ostereich (Austria) when she was a young woman because she is Jewish and her family was wealthy. For that reason, the Nazis permanently stationed an SS soldier in their home because of such wealth.
They were NEVER alone and yet somehow they managed to escape BARELY with their lives. They fled first to Koln, (Cologne) then to the United Kingdom and then to the United States which at the time was deemed the ONLY safe haven for Jews in the world that was accessible.
Now, by now most of you all know my review format and how this works. It’s sort of a game of the dozens in #WhatWorks #WhatDoesNOTWork. This film is going to be very different from most of my other films in that the latter simply does not apply for me, and I suspect most other viewers if I am being honest (as most of you know I generally AM).
So here goes.
We all know that Ryan Reynolds (Schoenburg) is fantastic at being an arsehole on-screen. (This isn’t a critique, mind you!) In this film it’s necessary to COUNTER the quick-witted Maria (played so perfectly by Dame Helen Mirren).
It literally took about 5 minutes before me and the other theatre goers settled in and began to openly anticipate a bone chilling, stellar film all around literally from the beginning.
Maria is an iconic and stately woman. She commands attention and the entire space (in other words no one other than Mirren could have been cast because that is as it must be) in literally EVERY scene she’s in and you find yourself literally BREATHLESS awaiting her words, her thoughts, her will.
I admit, having known this story as a young adult (it’s actually talked about IN Germany because of the repercussions and how so many of the German people actually WANT to return as much art as they can), that I initially had my doubts about Reynolds being cast. I’m happy to admit, my doubts were unfounded.
Those of you whom know me, know how much of an intense fan I am of Daniel Brühl for his brilliant portrayal in the highly under-appreciated Ron Howard epic, RUSH. He and Helen actually played the largest part in my enthusiasm to screen and review this film. That, and of course, though seeing so many parts of Austria and being reminded of while my childhood was happy, the people who were there before unfortunately did NOT have such happy times.
Brühl with his dialogue and instant connections to everyone in this film, and the manner in which he chose to portray Hubertos, gave me such great joy and such satisfaction with him being the main draw to this film for me. There is no wasted dialogue, no wasted moments, no wasted positioning. I expected him to be great on-screen and he was but so much more than I had hoped for. There’s a scene where Maria hugs him tightly and I imagine them having to cut after that because the intensity of the scene and the link between the two of them clearly was not severed when the hug ceased. The emotion, the seizure of moment, is so strong; you as a film goer instantly regret NOT being at the receiving end of such a hug, although you appreciate the sentiment.
The Film’s Other Co-Star
The film’s other phenomenal co-star?!?! The country and Austria and the city of Vienna. There were so many moments where I began to cry tears a mixture of joy and sorrow, as I remembered just how much those places meant to me as a child.
There is a hearth in each place, a stone of stance if you will that had me longing to see those places again, and thankfully knowing that I will. I imagine what it must have been like for Maria returning to her embattled homeland in some eyes a traitor, not just for fleeing, but more so for fighting for JUSTICE for her family and far too many others.
And that, I think, is the GRANDEST message in this film: That no matter how long we’ve been fighting, the finish is just within our grasp, even if we can’t see clear to it. Disheartened, and broken, there can be NO giving up, as long as we are living out our humanity to our last days.
This film is an absolute #MUSTSEE and a true FIVE STAR film.
To my family and friends in Deutschland, I will indeed, see you all VERY soon, for home is indeed where the HEART rests.
#SheCritiquesIt #MustSee #WhatWorksWhatDoesNOTWork
The Swirl World’s Resident Movie Reviewer Joyll Cambridge hails from Manchester, United Kingdom and currently lives in New York, New York.
She loves all things movies, fitness and swirling. To read Joyll’s personal blog at The Humanist Exec, click here.
Be sure to “Like” The Swirl World on Facebook and subscribe to our podcast on iTunes.
You can also follow us on Sound Cloud and listen to the show on Stitcher Radio!
Copyright ©2015 Michelle Matthews Calloway, ASwirlGirl™, The Swirl World™, The Swirl World Podcast™, All rights reserved. Photo of Joyll Cambridge used with permission. Photo of movie poster from the movie “Woman In Gold” obtained from Teaser-Trailer.com.