Wednesday, March 5

The Monuments Men

The Monuments Men: Saving our history one painting at a time. 

The Monuments Men. PG13. 118 Minutes. 2014. Starring: George Clooney (director and screenwriter), Bill Murray, Matt Damon, Cate Blancett, John Goodman, Jean Dujardin, Hugh Bonneville, Bob Balaban, Dimitri Leonidas. 

An unlikely World War II platoon is tasked to rescue art masterpieces from Nazi thieves and return them to their owners. (imdb) 

elizabeth:  I remember thinking about changing my major in college from advertising design to art history. I have always been fascinated by how the paintings and sculptures of the well-known and not-so-well-known artists kept our history. It wasn’t just books that told the history of mankind, but the brush strokes that came from the geniuses in the art world. They allowed us to feel the emotions of a mother holding her newborn or the mother’s grief over the death of her soldier son. 

The Monuments Men is based on a true story about a small group of men who were handpicked to go behind enemy lines to save thousands and thousands of paintings and sculptures that were stolen from museums and Jewish families during WWII. Kudos to Professor Frank Stokes (Clooney) for making it his mission to take back the Picassos, Michelangelos, and Renoirs from the Third Reich and that mad man Hitler. To see what Hitler had in mind to do with all that art will take your breath away.  

Nicole: To think, to this day priceless works of art are still being found all over Europe. How much was lost to us, that will never be retrieved is staggering to think on. I am glad that Clooney managed to get this film made so that people who are unaware of the history, and the book that inspired this film, will realize what’s been lost…and found. 

elizabeth: Each actor seemed to be handpicked for their roles. Murray’s slight craziness, Blanchett’s tight-lipped and uptight personae to Damon’s quite dignity made for such a strong ensemble.  You felt the comradeship among the cast and it was very emotional and very funny at times. Without the humor this movie might have been too tough to sit through. Clooney, as director, did a stellar job with bringing this story to the screen. 

Nicole: I agree on the casting. The cast camaraderie was very evident. It was produced in way that was reminiscent of WWII-era films—from the stylization to the soundtrack to the pacing and dialog. While I believe that was done on purpose, I think it’s something modern filmgoers are not necessarily used to and could account for why this film isn’t making greater numbers at the box office. 

elizabeth:  I think the storyline moved at just the right pace. You need time to take in again the horrors the Jewish people endured since it wasn’t just the paintings the Nazis stole from them. The actors who had the unfortunate roles as the Nazis made your blood run cold and you will never forget again what these monsters were capable of doing. 

Nicole: It’s heartbreaking, really and truly. I still can’t believe the atrocities of WWII happened a mere 70 years ago.

elizabeth: And  yet a small band of men did an honorable job at taking back some of the world’s most important art and returning them to their rightful owners even if it meant hanging a family portrait in the apartment of a Jewish family that had been sent away.  That scene alone is reason to see this film. The Monuments Men is not a perfect film but it will leave you thinking about what courage is all about. I would like to give them a standing ovation. 

The Film Fatales give THE MONUMENTS MEN

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