True to form, it was once again Matinée Monday for me. Today’s feature: The Monument’s Men.
But because it’s got so many stars (and such high status because of those stars), no one was able to say anything particularly bad when I told them I was going to see this one. At least, other than, “Let me know how it is.”
For those who need their memories refreshed, this is the film about the untold story of the art professors and architects and art experts that joined the US Army during WWII to save the art that the Germans were stealing as they plundered Europe. The film stars George Clooney (who also directed the film and co-wrote the screenplay), Matt Damon, Bill Murray, Cate Blanchett, John Goodman, Jean Dujardin, Hugh Bonneville, and Bob Balaban.
Walking into the theater, I wasn’t entirely sure of what to expect from the film, though I suppose from the trailers of the film, in the back of my mind I sort of expected a funny, witty banter kind of film while these guys went out and saved the day. And while the film is certainly filled with some witty banter that I just loved (honestly, I wish there had been more scenes between Clooney and Damon’s characters, they really lightened the mood whenever they were on-screen together), it’s a pretty serious film that doesn’t take the matter at hand lightly, which after seeing the film, made me love it even more. I don’t think I could have respected this film if it had been what the trailers had led to me believe it was. And I never expected the Russians to come into play from those trailers, either. Just saying.
Also, I almost wish I had taken a crash course on famous art through history before seeing the film. It’s not necessary, but seeing all the different pieces of art that were referenced through the film, I wish I had known a bit more about them going in. It might have helped me connect a little more not only to the film itself, but the characters, because a big part of their personalities is a love and appreciation for the art they’re looking to save. A few pieces are explained, but not many. Some advice for anyone out there that knows less about art than me: if you don’t know who Pablo Picasso is, please go look him up.
As with most WWII films, I have to take some time to wrap my brain around the scale of everything that went down. I’m still unsure what I would have done or how I would have reacted if I’d been alive during that time. It’s just such a hard topic to grasp, though the different story (as opposed to just another war film with soldiers going off to battle) was definitely refreshing.
One line really stuck with me. It was Matt Damon’s character who said, “It’s my job to return the art, and I figure here’s as good a place as any to start.” (Or something like that. I may have just butchered that, I’m not sure.) He says that while standing in an abandoned apartment where a family of Jews used to live in Paris, where he’s just hung a recovered painting back on their wall, even though they probably never returned to see it. The line explains the entire film just so well. I don’t know; I just loved it.
If you’re looking for something good to see, this one is definitely recommended by me.