movie review: the monuments men

During World War II, the Nazis steal countless pieces of art and hide them away. Some over-the-hill art scholars, historians, architects and other experts form a unit to retrieve as many of the stolen masterpieces as possible. The mission becomes even more urgent when the team learns about Hitler’s “Nero Decree,” which orders destruction of the artworks if the Third Reich falls. Caught in a race against time, the men risk their lives to protect some of mankind’s greatest achievements.


I don’t normally review movies or books until I’ve watched/read them at least twice (the second viewing always cements my ideas concerning story + characters), but after watching The Monuments Men this afternoon, I decided to review it right away for two reasons: 1) I don’t know when I’ll get to see it again because I had to pay to watch it with language filters and 2) I doubt my opinion of this movie will change because I LOVED IT SO MUCH.  Watching it felt almost like watching an episode of Combat! or a movie like The Longest Day.

Maybe it was because I watched it without the swearing, maybe the director/producer was going for an old-school feel, maybe the actors watched a bunch of old movies to prep their roles in this…whatever the reason, The Monuments Men felt almost like an old war movie and that’s what I loved most about it.  Change it from colour to b&w and one could hardly tell the difference.  I think a lot of the vintage feel came from the fact that the film isn’t all depressing and hopeless, with a ‘war is pointless and idiotic’ message like so many modern war films these days.  Yes, people die but there’s always that undercurrent of hope and good, old-fashioned themes of good versus evil.  And the music helps – it really harks back to all the rousing scores for movies like The Great Escape or The Longest Day.  So, add all those elements up, and it was love at first watch.

There’s lots I like about this movie.  I like how it covers the whole war in two hours (but never feels rushed).  I like the montage near the beginning when all the characters are called up.  I like the land-mine scene. (Or would it be a mine-mine scene?)  I like Claire and Granger and all the other characters.  I like, as I mentioned before, the music. (SO much.)  I like that it made me laugh and cry.  ‘Cause I totally cried.  A lot.  I might’ve just been emotional today in general, but it seemed like I was at least tearing up every other scene.  The two deaths.  When they discover the barrels of gold teeth.  When Granger says goodbye to Claire.  THE ENDING.  Snifffff.  OH AND THE CHRISTMAS PART.  I was a mess.  Also, some of the tears were probably just because, DUH, it’s WWII.

The characters were EPIC.  Matt Damon was the main reason I watched this movie, and he didn’t disappoint.  I first saw him in Saving Private Ryan, and rather liked him.  Then I watched The Bourne Identity and really liked him, and then I watched The Monuments Men and…yeah.  He’s one of the few modern actors I like just as much as the older ones. (Harrison Ford is another.)  Granger was such a sweet character and it was awesome how he stayed true to his wife.  Really appreciated that. ❤  I can’t recall any of the other characters’ names, really, because I’ve only seen this once, but they were all a truly likable bunch.  Made me smile more than once.  That French guy (Jean Claude?) reminded me of Caje (from Combat!) so much it was crazy.  Oh, and the German-Jewish kid intrigued me to no end.  I’m assuming his grandfather died…?  I don’t remember anyone saying yes or no, but he was sent to Dachau, so… (UGH IT’S ALL SO SAD.)

Anyway, that’s my review.  Probably not too coherent, but it’s the best I could do.

Have you seen The Monuments Men?



11 thoughts on “movie review: the monuments men

  1. Hey, look, it’s Dirk van Manen! Uh . . . er, I mean Matt Damon. 🙂
    No, I haven’t, but I’d really like to! Were there any scenes you had to fast-forward cause of Content?


    • 😀 I already love Dirk.

      There weren’t any content-y scenes at all, thank goodness! (It’s such a pain to skip those.) There’s one scene where Cate Blanchett’s character asks Matt Damon’s character if he’ll spend the night with her, but her request is pretty vague – would go right over little kids’ heads (again, reminiscent of old movies) and he politely, but firmly declines, so it’s all good. 🙂


      • I love him already, too 🙂 But then I love all my main characters. So you could say that doesn’t prove anything. But really, he IS awesome. His girlfriend (the heroine that is) is awesome too. Her name’s Tammi Herschlag (short for Tamara, because that’s one of my favorite names) 🙂

        That’s wonderful. I really will have to give it a watch one of these days, then–specially since I’m a history major and well-done historical movies make me SO happy 🙂


  2. Haven’t seen this one yet, but I’ve been wanting to! Isn’t it the one about the paintings? I loooooove Matt Damon.

    Giiiirl, you’ve gotta watch all of the Bourne movies – Karl Urban is in the second one and Jeremy Renner {Hawkeye} stars in the fourth, and they’re ah.mazing. AND now that you’ve got a filtering service handy, you should watch The Patriot Games. Young Harrison Ford is just beautiful, and the movie is super intense and good. Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit is good, too. Chris Pine. GAH. {I’m so glad you’ve got a filtering service now. I CAN RECOMMEND GOOD MODERN MOVIES NOW. YAY.}


    • Yep, that’s the one! Soooo good – and Matt Damon’s one of the best parts. 😉

      I’m sure I’ll see all the other Bourne movies sometime soon, ’cause my dad likes all of them a LOT. I think my parents have seen The Patriot Games, so I’ll ask them about watching it. And any other movie you want to recommend. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • YAY.

        Oh my gosh, you’re gonna love all of them. Perfect blend of suspense and just plain old awesome fighting scenes. (My one weakness.) Fourth one’s my favorite because of AU Hawkeye. ❤ Ha! Okay. XD


      • Plus with Patriot Games, you get Sean Bean with an Irish accent as the bad guy! Not my favorite Jack Ryan movie, but it is good. Harrison Ford was my 2nd-fave actor for like 15 years, though now he’s dropped to more like 4th, but I still greatly enjoy his movies. Definitely need a filter for that one, though!


  3. YAY! I’m so glad you got to see this 🙂 It really feels like a throwback to the great WWII movies of the ’60s, even without the language filter. (Really, I think there was way more bad language in The Longest Day, though it’s mainly different words.) And yes, it makes me cry too — especially the shower scene at Christmas, oh man, I’m tearing up just thinking about it.

    And the landmine. I totally get all tense there even though I’ve seen this multiple times. Really well done.

    SO so so so so glad you got to see this!


  4. My parents and sisters saw this one not too long ago…I’m not sure what I was doing, but I missed it. I have gained a new appreciation for Matt Damon, though. We recently watched all the Bourne movies and my sisters especially are crazy about him, haha! (Personally, “The Bourne Legacy” with Jeremy Renner was my favorite. Did you see that one?)

    Also: I tagged you! I thought you’d enjoy this one 🙂


    • The only Bourne film I’ve seen is the first one, though I’m hoping to see the others sometime soon. 🙂

      Thanks for tagging me! I’ve been wanting to do this tag for a while.


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