Wednesday, January 13, 2016

the danish girl

Moira+I went along to the Watershed this afternoon to see Tom Hooper’s rather extraordinary film “The Danish Girl”. Set in Copenhagen of the 1920s, it tells the true story of a successful Danish landscape artist Einar Wegener (played by Eddie Redmayne) married to a rather less successful portrait painter Gerda Wegener (played by Alicia Vikander). When a life model/dancer fails to turn up for a sitting, Gerda gets Einar to don tights and ballet slippers to pose for the completion of a painting. The experience doesn’t awaken new feelings in Einar, exactly, so much as stir some that were already there. The couple’s relationship duly enters unchartered territory… and Einar ends up becoming “Lili Elbe” (I hope you’re keeping up with this!?)… and, ultimately, becomes one of the first recipients of sexual reassignment surgery.
Redmayne gives an amazing performance as a transgender artist (he really does make a pretty amazing Lili!) – which will surely be recognised with another Oscar nomination (at least) – but Vikander is also wonderfully impressive (my only slight reservation is that I felt that her character was from a little later than the 1920s?).
It’s beautifully photographed (and great importance given to costume and production design), but its subject matter is raw and unsettling – as well as moving and humane.
Probably not the best film I’ll see in 2016, but a very impressive one nevertheless.

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