When you envision World War II soldiers, seven out of shape middle-aged men is not necessarily the first image that comes to mind. However, this unlikely septet brought together under the same cause is exactly what this film is all about. They have been dubbed “the monuments men,” and rightfully so, as they set out to recover stolen art throughout war-torn, Nazi Europe.
“The Monuments Men,” directed by Oscar winner George Clooney, features an all-star cast including Clooney himself, Matt Damon, Cate Blanchett, Bill Murray and John Goodman. The light banter and comical interactions add to the realism of this film based on a true story and book written by Robert M. Edsel and Brett Witter. The onscreen chemistry of these actors is undeniable, capturing the audience and drawing them in.
With the graphic nature of WWII, the light humor provided comedic relief. Yet, the sensitivity of the matter was not overlooked. Haunting references to the tragedy of the holocaust were intermittent, weighing heavily on the mind. A sense of justice and hope filled the theater as these seven art enthusiasts sought to restore the world’s masterpieces and family treasures to their rightful owners.
As this 118 minute film progressed, a consciousness of attachment to the characters developed. You start to feel like one of the team as you share in the mourning of the loss of life experienced by these men, which further strengthens the group dedicated to their special mission. They have more purpose now than ever as some sacrifice their lives for the cause of preserving culture and the arts.
“The Monuments Men” is filled with heartwarming moments appealing to every emotion from longing to tragic peacefulness. As these men have been separated from their families, the writers include special moments ranging from the camaraderie of soldiers to phonographic messages from home, even impressing upon the magnitude of holding a dying soldier’s hand as he takes his last breath.
A film I would gladly watch again and again, “The Monuments Men” will appeal to art aficionados and history buffs alike as this special team seeks to preserve classic paintings and sculptures stolen by the Nazis in a race against the clock. Worth the price you pay to see this film in theaters, the movie will leave you wanting to know more about the real life encounters of these seven men tasked to save over 1,000 years of culture and history.
Laura Good is a senior history education major. This review reflects the view of the writer only.