Biography | Drama | Romance
UK | USA | Belgium
Eddie Redmayne, Alicia Vikander, Matthias Schoenaerts, Ben Whishaw, Amber Heard, Sebastian Koch, Emerald Fennell, Adrian Schiller, Henry Pettigrew
Danish painter Einar Wegener (Eddie Redmayne) has been married to fellow-artist Gerda (Alicia Vikander) for six years. After his wife painted him as a lady, Einer starts to change his appearance into a female appearance and gradually becomes obsessed with the idea of becoming a woman, a quest which leads him to attempt one of the first sex reassignment surgeries.
Some films have everything it takes to be engaging, fascinating and emotional. "The Danish Girl" is one of them only on paper, because in spite of everything it has to offer, it is a cold and detached film.
Following George VI and Jean Valjean's dramas, Tom Hooper brings to the big screen a film about brave people in a time where their bravery was counted as mental illness, from a diagnosis of schizophrenia to a suspicion of perversion.
This is not just a film about transsexuality, but also a love story with two equally powerful dramas: that of the man who suffers because he feels trapped in a physical cage, his body, that does not recognize as his own, and who is willing to risk his life to see his dream come true, being himself; then there is the even stronger and more dramatic one, that of the woman who loves that man so much she is willing to sacrifice herself in order to see him happy.
Now the problem, the lack of emotional impact. The film is emotionally sterile. Maybe if they didn't pay so much attention to the aesthetic of the film and worked a little better on the screenplay, it would have been different. The costumes are beautiful, so are interiors and landscapes, but they are not enough.
The musical score by Alexandre Desplat has purely romantic tones and reminds the audience it's a great love story the one the film is telling, but in some scenes is too intrusive, and ruins said scenes. Especially the one when Einar undresses in front of a mirror.
The acting isn't that brilliant either. While Alicia Vikander delivers an excellent performance as Gerda Wegener - still she should have been nominated for "Ex Machina" -, Eddie Redmayne is not as good as everyone is saying, and not only his performance doesn't come close to DiCaprio's John Glass but neither it does to Fassbender's Steve Jobs. Last year, I praised Redmayne's portrayal of Stephen Hawking for the awkward and exaggerated manner he brought to the character. Unfortunately, that does seem to be his trademark, because he does the exact same thing as Einar/Lili and it doesn't really work here. All he does to portray the complexity of his character is smile and blinking eyes. Some also claim that Redmayne was the perfect choice to play that role because of his androgynous beauty. To be honest I fail to see that too.