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Eddie Redmayne and Alicia Vikander in The Danish Girl (2015)Review

The Danish Girl (Biography, Drama, Romance) (2015)


Director: Tom Hooper

Writers: David Ebershoff (book), Lucinda Coxon (screenplay)

Stars: Eddie Redmayne, Alicia Vikander, Amber Heard, Matthias Schoenaerts

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These days the world is very different to how it was in the past. Technology is evolving faster than ever, medicine has immensely improved, and people have never been so free as to identify as the gender they feel most comfortable with. Even having the opportunity to live the rest of their lives as said gender because of the medical breakthroughs made.

Back in the 1800s and 1900s and before that, this was much harder. You were frowned upon, made fun of, considered mentally ill or insane.

Einar Wegener was born a man; He went to the Royal Art Academy in Copenhagen to study the Fine Arts. This is where he met his soon to be wife Gerda Gotlieb also a painter but instead of painting Landscapes like Einar she painted portraits, and historically magazine and book illustrations (not something shown in the movie).

Both of them were happy with their lives, their marriage and their profession. But eventually, Gerda asked Einar to pose for a painting she was drawing when the lady she was painting was unable to come over. Einar hesitantly posed for Gerda, yet the uneasiness slowly wore off, and Einar started displaying a genuine interest for women’s clothes, makeup and overall lifestyle. Eventually, Gerda noticed and started to somewhat encourage this behaviour jokingly at first. She even persuaded him to fully roleplay as a woman named Lili at a public event. This lead to a long road and the transformation of Einar to Lili.

That is the story the director tries to tell. A bold and risky move in today’s society but a good one nonetheless, maybe it’s an eye-opener for some or just subtle way to disguise the ‘’problem’’ for others. Whether you’re against these decisions or for it, it’s a solid movie with high calibre acting and a heartwarming plot. Redmayne and his partner in the film did a stellar job, of course, we know Redmayne has done films like this before (For Example: Theory of Everything), Vikander might not have quite the background in those kinds of films she has also established herself in some emotionally expressive rolls (For Example Ex Machina).  These are the performances that make the whole piece stand out, Vulnerability and Emotion. Something I did not think this film had until later on. The first push to the rest of the story felt very rushed and made me frightful that this would continue through the remainder of the film, and I’m happy to say that I was wrong. As the rest of the film, you see Einar slowly transforming and you notice the subtle change in Einar’s character as he commits to his real feelings and his gender identity. Apart from Einar and his wife Gerda, later on in the movie, more and more characters appear in persuading fashion, and most of them do a great job at the roles they were cast in. The Danish Girl was shot carefully and with precision slowly pacing through the scenes and speeding up when needed, significantly bolstering the movie. If you’re not familiar with Lili Elbe’s story, than this can be a great experience with highs and lows, ebbs and tides. And I encourage people to watch it through all the way if you like Romance and Drama, if not you might want to go elsewhere to watch some other film.

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A touching story about one of the first women going through gender altering surgery brought to light by Eddie Redmayne, Alicia Vikander and many others. Even though it is exaggerated, it is still a great watch.