The Danish Girl
The unimaginable feeling of freedom is beautifully encapsulated in Tom Hooper’s film about one couple’s incredible quest to make history in the 20th century. A deserved contender at this awards season, Hooper’s film triumphs thanks to its stunning lead performances. The Danish Girl is a fortitudinous tale of sacrifice and self-discovery.
The film follows married couple and artists Gerda and Einar Wegener whose marriage is consumed by passion and friendship. However, one fateful afternoon Greta asks her husband to slip into a pair of stockings so she could complete a painting, and a deep desire roots in Einar where the inception of Lili begins. As the image of Einar slowly fades away, Gerda valiantly supports her husband’s wish to transition into a woman but also struggles internally to let go of the man she loves. Art and life collide dramatically here as we follow the story of one of the first transitions to happen in the 20th century.
The casting is ingenious: both Alicia Vikander and Eddie Redmayne deliver note-worthy performances. Vikander as the commanding but passionate Greta is captivating to watch as she masks her character’s pain with unwavering strength. Eddie Redmayne delivers nothing short of an Oscar-worthy performance as both the precision-proud Einar and the elusive Lili. Vikander and Redmayne share undeniable emotion together, often portraying the characters as devoted best friends more than a loving husband and wife. Redmayne’s synonymous smile garners the most attention; a smile that holds a multitude of emotions, his varying portrayals of Lili are compelling to see.
Set in Copenhagen, the film is rich in 1920s history. Art imitated life and often left subsidiary characters like Oola Paulson, played by the energetic Amber Heard, to capture the real essence of the period. The opulence of the 20s is missed occasionally, which could have provided useful intermissions between fraught emotional scenes. Nonetheless, the chrysalis that Lili emerges from is enchanting enough to keep audiences watching. Hooper’s film is an important reflection of today’s zeitgeist and while The Danish Girl may be set in the past, it could not be more evocative of the present.
The Danish Girl is released nationwide on 1st January 2016.
Watch the trailer for The Danish Girl here: