Sunday, April 19, 2015

The Monuments Men

The Monuments Men is a 2014 film produced and directed by and starring George Clooney. It also stars Matt Damon, Bill Murray, and John Goodman. It's based on a non-fiction book that tells about the WW2 soldiers who rescued works of art stolen by the Nazis. This was a nice enough film, enjoyable and well worth watching. Once. I can't imagine I'll ever watch it again, but I'm glad to have seen it.

As many of the reviews point out, this movie is based on a true story. I don't understand people who mistake films that have a basis in fact for true representations of historical fact, but apparently such people exist. Just know that there were soldiers whose job it was to preserve cultural artifacts during WW2 and enjoy the movie as the entertainment it is. Want to know the real story? Talk to some of the people who were actually there while you still can, or read some history books.


Slate critiques the movie's accuracy. Rolling Stone has a positive review. EW gives it a C-. NPR concludes, "There's lots of information, some nice images, plenty of earnest sermonizing about culture and almost no suspense, or tension, or character development, or structure. Or, well, art."

Roger Ebert's site says, ""The Monuments Men" tests the proposition that an appealing cast can put almost any script across. ... heart alone does not a good film make." Rotten Tomatoes has a critics score of 31%, though the audience score is higher.


  1. I will definitely watch this when it comes to television, I am interested in the historical period and I think it´s a smashing cast. But I have seen that the reviews were luke warm, to say the least. I agree with you about what one can expect of historical accuracy from a dramatization (and even history books are not gospel; we reassess the writing of history all the time). I expect that what Clooney wants to communicate exceeds the story itself. I think of him not as an artist, but a very good craftsman and someone with an educational agenda, which I highly respect.

    1. Our copy of the DVD was a gift from one of our kids who knew we'd enjoy the historical connection. I think sometimes reviewers expect more of movies than I do (31% at Rotten Tomatoes? That was harsh) and that other viewers expect more historical accuracy than I do (It's a movies, after all, not a documentary). But this is a good enough movie that provides a taste of real historical events, and that's plenty for me. The actors are very appealing in their roles.

  2. I remember seeing the hype as this movie hit theaters. I wanted to see it, but I'm not one to go to first run movies. As the movie took off, I began reading about the REAL Monuments Men. It was fascinating, so I'm sure I would have been disappointed had I seen the movie after learning all I did about the REAL ones.

    Ironic that two WWII movies from the past year are about art and getting art returned to rightful owners. One thing I learned about Hitler was, he was meticulous beyond belief about documenting where, when, and how he got the art into his possession.

    As an aside, I see the Grizzlies won last night. I realize it's the first game of the first round, but we all need to show homage to our hometown teams.

    1. I look at it as a snapshot of the real monuments men.

      Go Grizz! Thanks! Grit and Grind! :)