History was certainly not my favourite subject in school, which in retrospect I think was largely due to the quality of the teacher we had. History as it was taught in the 60s was largely something to be memorized and regurgitated on an exam with no understanding of the human side. As an adult I now have an almost insatiable interest in days and people gone by. My husband I both are huge fans of the History channel and other channels that show documentaries of both world wars, ancient civilizations and everything in between. We have a trip to France planned later this year to visit the historical sites of Canadian battles in both the first and second world wars including Juno Beach, Dieppe, Vimy, Ypres, The Somme and other sites. Perhaps this interest stems from having a grandmother who was a war bride from England in the First World War and a very special family friend, now passed away, who fought in horrific conditions as a 16-year-old at The Somme. Many relatives are also veterans including an uncle who was a prisoner of war captured in Hong Kong in 1941 and held by the Japanese for four years.
Naturally, I was looking forward to seeing The Monuments Men at movie theatres – and not just because it stars George Clooney—that was simply a bonus. It’s the story of a small group of art specialists tasked with locating upwards of half a million works of art stolen by the Nazis from private collections, museums and churches across Europe and returning them to their proper owners. The movie is based on a true story and scenes in the movie accurately depict old black and white photos of actual events. For that reason I thoroughly enjoyed it. The one shortcoming I found, however, was the fact that the dialogue was very often trite and cliché. I think such a fascinating subject could have been handled with more intelligence and depth. There were also brief moments of comedy which relieved the serious depiction of war.
Overall, I’d give it 3 out of 5 based on unrealized potential but I’m not an expert. But, do go see it. The Monuments Men is a good movie.
P.S. Here’s a link sent to me by friend Maryse for those who are interested in learning more about the real story behind the movie. http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/true-story-monuments-men-180949569/#.UwT9TO5uJX0.email