Lili Elbe was a transgender pioneer – attempting a sex correction surgery in the early 20th century, a time when the LGBT community was being ostracized as schizophrenics, even being called insane and medical equipment was almost ancient.
The Danish Girl is loosely based on Lili Elbe who was Einar Wegener (Eddie Redmayne) before she came out and his wife Gerda (Alicia Vikander) who were a bit of celebrities in Copenhagen. They were painters, much in love helping each other and enjoying what seemed like a perfect marriage. But the marriage was anything but perfect. Einar had cast away Lily for good as a boy and didn’t allow her to come to life till Gerda pushes him to dress up as a woman as a game, mistakenly bringing Lily to life. What follows is a love story like none other.
How do you accept the fact that your husband is a woman inside? How do you tell the world that you were supposed to be born a woman but are trapped inside a man’s body – especially in a time when such notions were considered insane? The frustration, helplessness and resolve is so well enacted by Vikander and Redmayne. Redmayne is an artist – the way he transforms is just brilliant but special kudos to Vikander who is the spark of spontaneity that the ultra-structured film needs. Its no surprise these leading stars were nominated for Oscars for 2016 – they are true artists.
Their love and mutual affection for each other comes through as clearly as a well cut diamond and it is this story that is the strength of The Danish Girl.
The music is inspiring and the cinematography sets up one beautiful shot after the other. The period description and details are really well put and transport you to those early years.
I haven’t read the actual book by David Ebershoff on which the film is based, but the screenplay by Lucinda Coxon is really good in my opinion and Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech, Les Miserables) directs a tale of inspiration and love. His canvas is almost picture perfect, from the paintings shown in the film to the stunning landscape shots to depicting the emotions of the actors.
The only nitpick I have is that the movie doesn’t tell anything new. This was the year of Caitlin Jenner and she seemed to go through the same judgement and attack that the LGBT community has gone through over the last 100 years. Has nothing changed?
Casting that small complaint aside, my recommendation is to watch this one. It will inspire you to be YOU, whoever that is.