Is 'Woman In Gold' Based On A True Story? This Incredible Tale Seems Too Good To Be True

These days, it seems like every new movie is adapted from a book, a sequel to another project, or based on a true story. With the latter, sometimes these stories seem too insane or breathtaking to be real, like Helen Mirren and Ryan Reynolds' new movie about a woman who takes the Austrian government to court in order to win back a painting of her aunt that was stolen by the Nazis. So, is Woman in Gold based on a true story? Absolutely, and it's an incredible one at that.

The film stays mostly true to the real story of Maria Altmann's (Mirren) quest to be reunited with Gustav Klimt's painting of her aunt, Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I. She and a young lawyer named E. Randol Schoenberg (Reynolds) fought through many court cases to win it back for almost a decade in the late '90s, eventually landing in the Supreme Court in 2004 and then at an arbitration panel in Austria in 2006. Altmann's life growing up in Austria was also portrayed in the film, including her relationship with her entire family — her aunt Adele included — and then her marriage and escape from the Nazis in the late 1930s.

Although a few things were changed in the story to tighten it up — like her husband, Frederick, being held at a concentration camp before they fled to the USA, the name of the museum they fought against, and her originally not even requesting to take back Adele's portrait— it mostly illustrated Altmann's journey exactly as it happened. Orphan Black's Tatiana Maslany plays young Altmann as flawlessly as if Maria was another clone on her show, and the tale is truly incredible and heartwarming. I won't give away the ending, but if you've seen other Hollywood takes on true stories, you probably know how this one ends. Hint: cue the waterworks. Woman in Gold hits theaters on April 1.

Image: Robert Viglasky/The Weinstein Company