The Danish Girl is the story of Einar Wegener (Eddie Redmayne) and his wife Gerda Wegener (Alicia Vikander), artists from Copenhagen in 1926, as they navigate the the unknown transgender world. This story is loosely based, on the book The Danish Girl by David Ebershoff, about Lili Elbe as she attempted one of the first male-to-female sex reassignment surgeries.
When we first meet Einar and Gerda they seem like a perfectly happy married couple that have passion and mutual respect for one another. Their only rift is they have yet to have any children (that is not for lack of trying, however).
One day Gerda asks Einar to stand in for their friend Ulla, who happens to be late, so she could finish the portrait she was doing. With some reluctance he agrees; she then asks him to put on her stockings and slippers and then drapes the dress over him. From the subtle ways he touches the fabric or smiles at each compliment you can tell something is running through his head.
That’s when they decide it’ll be fun for Einar to dress up as Lili for a benefit they were supposed to go to. The seed was planted then, but not just for Einar, for Gerda as well. She becomes inspired and starts to paint Lili. That’s when she gains her first bout of success. Their relationship is strained, however, when Lili doesn’t seem to go away after that night. Through it all, this story is about love and the lengths someone will go to in order to be themselves and be there for the person they love.
I must tell you I mainly watched this film because Eddie Redmayne was cast in it. I wasn’t sure of the story line or anything else except him. He was brilliant in The Theory of Everything so I was curious as to how he was going to take on these two characters.
Redmayne has a subtle quality to his acting which really draws in an audience. A small touch here, a smile there, he brings out the smallest details that can be detriment to a character. He is brilliant in the way he brings Lili to life.
I do believe, however, that Alicia Vikander is the shining light of this film. Gerda is the one person that is there to support her husband through this change. She, to me, has the biggest character arc of the entire film. We see her struggle through anguish and regret, but then we also see the absolute and indefinite love and loyalty she has to her husband who is becoming a different person entirely.
Just like Eddie was over the past couple of year, Alicia Vikander is an actress to watch in the near future. She was already a part of multiple films in 2015 including Ex Machina in which she was nominated for a Golden Globe as well.
Except for the acting and the beautiful cinematography, this film left a lot to be desired for me. I think the story itself was too subtle for the topic of which it was delving into. I hate to say that due to the fact the Transgender community is becoming more and more talked about and learned from this day in age. That being said, I can’t wait to see what Eddie Redmayne, Alicia Vikander, and Tom Hooper (Director: Les Miserable, The King’s Speech) do next.
*Click The Danish Girl at the top of the page to watch the trailer.*