"Woman in Gold" has a rich story to tell. The true account of Maria Altmann's fight to reclaim a famed Gustav Klimt painting of her aunt, "Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I," first stolen by the Nazis and then appropriated by Austria after the war, is laced with riveting history, deep and complex emotion, and fascinating bureaucracy. Yet director Simon Curtis's rendering of Altmann's tale, though respectful and pretty, is somehow lifeless.
There is almost too much here for a single movie. Curtis, who charmed with his Marilyn Monroe slice of life "My Week with Marilyn," relies on a combination of flashbacks of Maria's pre-war life in Vienna and the present day tick-tock of her legal quest to take ownership of the painting.