WOMAN IN GOLD
*CUT TO THE CHASE*
NOTE: This spoiler was submitted by Emilio.
Maria Altmann (played by Tatiana Maslany as the younger Maria, and Helen Mirren as the older Maria) recalls the arrival of Nazi forces in Vienna, Austria. When the Nazis arrive, they subsequently wanted the suppression of Jewish ideology. They also suppressed the looting and pillage conducted by the Nazis against Jewish families. Wanting to escape before the country is completely shut off, Maria Altmann and members of her family, attempt to flee to the United States. While Maria is successful in her escape, her parents are unable to flee. Her family is eventually killed in the death camps.
In the present, the now elderly Maria (Helen Mirren) attends the funeral for her sister. After the funeral is over, she discovers letters that were in her sister's possession. These letters are dated back to the later 1940s. The letters reveal an attempt to recover artwork owned by the Altmann family. The artwork was subsequently stolen by the Nazis shortly after Maria’s escape. Of particular note is a painting of Maria's aunt. This painting is now known in Austria as the "Woman in Gold". Maria enlists the help of Randol Schoenberg (Ryan Reynolds), a lawyer with little experience in art restitution. Maria has Randol make a claim in the art restitution board in Austria.
After arriving in the country, Maria discovers that the country's minister and the art director are unwilling to part with the painting. The minister and the art director both feel that the “Woman in Gold” has become part of the national identity. Both supply information that suggests that the “Woman in Gold” was in fact legitimately willed to the gallery by the Altmann family. Upon further investigation, this claim proves to be incorrect as the alleged “will” left everything to another family member. That family member, in turn, left the collection to the gallery only if there were no living relatives to take in the paintings. Based on this evidence, Randol files a challenge with the art restitution board. However, the challenge to the government's claim is denied in Austria. Having been defeated, both Maria and Randol return to the United States.
In the states, Randol continues his research into the “Woman in Gold” case. Randol happens to stumble upon a book with the painting of the "Woman in Gold" on the cover. At this point, Randol has an epiphany. Using a loop hole, and a limited number of similar cases in which an art restitution law was retroactively applied, Randol files a claim in United States court against the Austrian government. Randol is contesting their claim to the painting. Attempts by the Austrian government to deny the claim are ultimately unsuccessful. But, they soon appeal to the Supreme Court of the United States. In the matter of “The Republic of Austria v. Altmann”, the United States Supreme Court rules in Maria's favor. This results in the Austrian Government attempting to reach an unequal agreement with Maria to retain the painting for the gallery. She refuses to this agreement. Maria has a falling out with Randol over the issue of returning to Austria for a second time to argue the case. This leads to Maria firing Randol. However, Randol takes it upon himself to carry on the case of his own accord.
In Austria, the art restitution board hears the case. During this time, they are reminded of the Nazi Regimes war crimes, which Randol recalls. Randol pleads with the art restitution board to think of the meaning of the word “restitution”. He encourages them to see past the artwork hanging in art galleries. He tells them to see the injustice of the families, who once own such great paintings, but were forcibly separated from them by the Nazis.
All of a sudden, Maria arrives to speak before the board. She speaks to them, reminding them of the atrocities of the Nazi regime. She also says that while the gallery may see in the “Woman in Gold” as a national treasure, she sees the painting as a family portrait. After making their respective cases, the art restitution board ultimately sides with Maria, returning her painting.
In the final scene, Maria and Randol reconcile and she tells Randol that she elects to have the painting moved to the United States with her.
As a young woman, Maria Altmann (Tatiana Maslany) is forced to flee Austria, leaving behind as prized painting known as the “Woman in Gold”, as Nazi forces arrive.
However, she is the only one to escape and her family is subsequently killed in the death camps. As an older woman, Maria (Helen Mirren) partners up with a young lawyer, Randol (Ryan Reynolds) to get back the painting from Austria. The minister of Austria and the art director are unwilling to give the painting back as they feel that the painting has become part of their country’s identity. After the United States Supreme Court rules in favor of Maria, the Austrian government attempts to reach an agreement with Maria to retain the painting in their gallery, but Maria refuses.
After a falling out with Randol, Maria fires him. Randol goes back to Austria to argue the case in front of the art restitution board. Maria shows up and also argues the case. The board ultimately sides with Maria. In the final scene, Maria thanks Randol and tells him of her plans to have the “Woman in Gold” moved back to the United States with her.