The Danish Girl is based on the true story of Lili Elbe who was a pioneer in transgender-ism. It’s centered on the work and marriage of Einar Wegener/Lili Elbe and his/her wife Gerda Wegener and just how far one will go to feel “normal” and what one does when you truly love a person.
The movie follows Eddie Redmayne and Alicia Vikander, who play Einar and Gerda Wegener who are both married, Danish painters in the early 20th century. When Gerda uses Einar as a stand in, it ignites who he truly is, and that is Lili Elbe. Eddie Redmayne does an amazing and heartbreaking job at bringing both Einar and Lili to life. There are certain times where he is so convincing as Lili that he almost looks like Jessica Chastain’s doppelgänger. Redmayne has taken on a variety of roles that differ drastically from one another, whether it is as Marius in Les Misérables to his award-winning performance as Dr. Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything and now to a transgendered pioneer, he takes this roles and disappears into them. He becomes these characters and takes chances that make you just drop your jaw. Look for him to be one of the front-runners for Best Actor next year at the Academy Awards. Not to be outdone by her male counterpart is Alicia Vikander, who fresh off her amazing role in Ex Machina, tackles the role of a wife who is losing her husband but is so full of love that she understands what she needs to do while maybe not completely understanding what is happening. And while, yes, this is a fictional account of a true story, the performances by these two is so earnest that you secretly wish and hope that it was true.
Tom Hooper shot in Denmark and France and has some of the most beautiful footage you’ll ever see. Seeing how he and his crew capture these beautiful places is a testament to their work. Hooper is no stranger to France since he directed Redmayne in Les Misérables. The writing goes from touching to heartbreaking within the same scene. You really feel this person’s pain of not feeling that they are who they should be.
If this movie has one drawback, it’s that at times it does seem to drag a bit. This is an extremely story heavy movie, you aren’t going to see any car chases, but you should know that already. Could there have maybe been a scene or two cut? Maybe, but then you would miss little nuances here and there that shouldn’t be missed.
This will be an Oscar contender and one that you should be going to watch. The performances are fantastic, and it feels like everyone in this movie is just getting started.