Review: THE DANISH GIRL

By Liz Lopez

Rating: A

Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne is incredibly mesmerizing in his performance as illness transforms Steven Hawking’s body in The Theory of Everything. Now, he stars in The Danish Girl, portraying Einar Wegener who undergoes gender-reassignment to fulfill his desire to live like a woman named Lili Elbe. I have no doubt his performance will continue to have his name among many nominations for Best Actor once again. So far with the Golden Globes, he is nominated for Best Performance By An Actor In A Motion Picture – Drama, and with the Screen Actors Guild (SAG), he is nominated in the Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role category.

I recommend viewing the film to watch Redmayne in the transformation of a successful married artist, Einar Wegener, as he becomes the transgender pioneer Lili Erbe. His artist wife of six years, Gerta (Alicia Vikander), stands by her man through it all, making this a truly beautiful romantic drama as well. Vikander is also a Golden Globe nominee for Best Performance By An Actress In A Motion Picture – Drama. Redmayne and Vikander’s engaging performance and the love story set between the years 1926 and 1931, is one not to be missed.

Redmayne is reunited for this film with director Tom Hooper (Les Miserables), who also helmed the Oscar-winning film, The King’s Speech. The Danish Girl is based on David Ebershoff’s novel adapted by screenwriter Lucinda Coxon. Einar loves Gerta, but he struggles to remain a husband after the couple’s dancer friend Ulla (Amber Heard) dons the name Lili as he is in the midst of helping Gerta with a painting, wearing a few items of women’s wear for a short while.

Gerta is being supportive of Einar, but one of the heartbreaking scenes for her is when she witnesses Henrik (Ben Whishaw) kiss Lili at the grand party they attend. She realizes this is no longer a game and Henrik becomes a persistent suitor, with Lili seeking the attention.

In the midst of the struggle with his identity, Gerta reaches out to reunite Einar with his childhood friend from Vejle, Denmark, Hans (Matthias Schoenaerts), a wealthy Paris art dealer and Einar greets Hans as Lili. Hans is a tall, appealing and attractive man, so it is no surprise each of the spouses is taken with him.

It is very sad to view the scenes of how the medical community responded to the request for help, diagnosing the patient as schizophrenic or insane and offering to shock, drill or drug them. Lili grows more determined in her goal to be a complete woman, eventually finding the pioneer German doctor (Sebastian Koch) in Dresden for the gender surgery, although knowing the outcome can be fatal.

The score by Alexandre Desplat is excellent and costume designer, Paco Delgado, creates some very beautiful and elegant gowns becoming of the actors. The director of photography, Danny Cohen, captures some very lovely scenes both close ups of the actors, as well as the landscape that Einar is famous for.

The film is 120 minutes in duration and is rated R. The film opens in Austin on December 18th and will be available in two theaters for opening week. Check your local listings for show times.

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