In this film, Maria Altmann goes to great lengths to reclaim the portrait of her Aunt (Adele Bloch-Bauer), painted by artist Gustave Klimt and, which was stolen from her family by the Nazis.
The premise is easy enough to understand but everything surrounding the story, as it is told in the film, is pretty detestable. It pretends to chastise the racism and oppression perpetrated by the Nazis during the Holocaust, however everything about the film tells a story of a highly privileged woman fighting to restore her family name as an allegory for “high class” or “high society”. It’s pretty much a very selfish, self aggrandizing, film. Despite the poignantly emotive acting by Mirren, the film lacks much substance other than to glorify Altmann and her exaggerated fight to recover her Aunt (and Uncle’s) painting.
At its very core this film is really about class warfare. It tells a extremely put on story of a “high born” Jewish woman who flees the true wrath of the war virtually unscathed and who years later seeks to reclaim some class for herself. You don’t need to look further than her donating proceeds from her case to an opera house. You would think that with all the drama, she would champion other victims of the war but that was not the case at all. The disgusting thing is that its the same sort of class warfare that the Nazis used to justify all their atrocities; creating separate classes of people and condemning a certain class to indignity, torture, abuse and ultimately senseless deaths. How the writers and producers failed to recognize the irony inherent in their film project is beyond comprehension; or better yet, justification.
The true injustice is that the film further marginalizes the very people that it pretends to represent.