My wife had been wanting to see The Danish Girl for a while, and we finally decided to sit down and watch it. I consider myself to be quite liberal when it comes to the rights of one’s own body, yet I wasn’t sure how comfortable I would watching the content of the film. However, the story that is told is compelling, the production value is high, and the acting is pretty incredible. That said, I feel The Danish Girl is Not Quite Golden, Ponyboy, and worthy of a watch…and a few moments of look at the ceiling.
What happens in The Danish Girl?
Einar Wegener (Eddie Redmayne) and his wife Gerda (Alicia Vikander) are Danish artists in the early 1900’s. Einar develops a new personality named Lili Elbe and discovers who she really has been all along.
Alicia Vikander delivers a powerful performance. Imagine asking your husband to wear stockings and shoes in order to finish a painting and later catching your husband wearing your dress. She wonders if she caused this transformation, she’s hurt that she is losing her love, she feels rejected by her husband, and yet Gerda manages to be supportive and a powerful positive influence to Lili. Vikander is able to be all of those things on screen and delivers a powerhouse performance.
That said, Eddie Redmayne does a terrific job in this film. Most critics have acknowledged his talent and managed to even forgive him for Jupiter Ascending, but this movie was impressive. He was believable as a women and found the ability to show the conflict the character was going through. The two actors together were a dynamic on-screen duo and gave a very memorable performance.
Director Tom Hooper utilized the set design, costume, and artwork in the film are beautiful. Yet, the film does feel slow at times. Some of the scenes feel slightly disconnected to the bigger picture, particularly the scene where Lili gets beat up. The scene is clearly there to demonstrate how Lili’s appearance, especially in that scene where it’s not clear if it’s Lili or Einar, makes people of that time uncomfortable. However, it’s something that doesn’t need to be established as the conflict comes and goes. The doctors diagnosing Lili as crazy is sufficient for us to understand this lifestyle wasn’t common nor accepted at this time. Add in that the topic being discussed in this film is still a hot button issue in the world right now, which is almost 100 years after the events in the film.
The film definitely tells an interesting character story, and its historical significance is worth checking out. There is full frontal nudity from both lead actors so that is something to be aware of going into it. However, the film showcases some great performances.