The Danish Girl (2016) – Film Review

Redmayne would be my pick for Oscar

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The Danish Girl sees Tom Hooper (Les Miserables (2012) & The Kings Speech (2010)) on the awards path again with this period piece about a Danish artist Einar Wegener (Eddie Redmayne) who starts to question his sexual identity.  He faces a battle against the prejudices of 1930’s Europe supported along the way by his wife Gerda (Alicia Vikander).  The film as I understand it draws inspiration from the diaries of the real life Einar and a novel by David Ebershoff.

The big pluses for this film is the central pairing of Redmayne and Vikander.  They come across as a natural couple and Gerda is driven to see her husband find happiness and confront whatever problem it is that is bothering him.  She has her moments of doubt but she powers through.  The best way to describe Redmayne’s performance is studied.  You see this reflected in the film in the scenes where his character mimics women he meets as he is drawn further and further into his alternate/real identity Lilly.  He has now convinced me following his performance in The Theory of Everything (2015) that he is one of the most talented actors of his generation.  DiCaprio seems to have the momentum but given the nominations Redmayne should make it two in a row.

The Danish Girl plays on the issue of identity and how the world around us copes (or otherwise) when someone can’t be easily pigeon holed.  I did wonder how his change would have been recognised legally which isn’t something the film dealt with although I suspect that would have been the next battle.  This is a timely movie that I have continued to grapple with as I have never had that sense of uncertainty which makes it difficult to fully grasp the journey.  My rating 3/5.

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