The Danish Girl (2015)

the danish girl poster 2015 movie
8.5 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 8/10

Interesting and timely story

Largely fictionalized but marketed as historical

Movie Info

Movie Name:  The Danish Girl

Studio:  Focus Features

Genre(s):  Drama/Romance

Release Date(s):  September 5, 2015 (Venice Film Festival)/November 27, 2015 (US)

MPAA Rating:  R

the danish girl eddie redmayne alicia vikander

“I think I’m a woman” is often a relationship killer…hey, but sometimes it works out!

Einar Wegener (Eddie Redmayne) is an accomplished artists while his wife Gerda (Alicia Vikander) is trying to find her place as a portrait artist.  Einar has always felt different…like he was a stranger in his own skin.  When Gerda suggests going in drag to an event as a joke, Einer’s emotions are reawakened, and he cannot shut them down.  Feeling he belongs as his alter ego Lili, Einar seeks to right the unbalance in himself which could not only destroy his relationship with Gerda, but also could change the world.

Directed by Tom Hooper, The Danish Girl is a period drama based on David Ebershoff’s 2000 novel of the same name.  The story is a fictionalized account of Lili Elbe (December 28, 1882-September 13, 1931) who was one of the first sex reassignment patients.  The movie was released to critical acclaim and an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress (Alicia Vikander) with nominations for Best Actor (Redmayne), Best Costume Design, and Best Production Design.

The Danish Girl is fiction.  The movie has a large number of historical inaccuracies, but the book on which it is based on is marketed as fiction and not a biography.  The movie however seems to really push the biography aspect of the story which is a little misleading.  Regardless of this, the story is an interesting one.

the danish girl radiation treatment eddie redmayne

Now, Eddie Redmayne tries out for The FIfth Element

The idea of gender or sexual reassignment surgery seems like science fiction today…imagine what the idea was like in Europe in the 1920s.  Not only would a person have to fight the stereotypes that exist today (aka diagnosis like mental instability, hormonal issues, or being labeled homosexual) but they would also have to deal with the idea that surgery just didn’t really exist (and you didn’t have the internet to look it up).  The complexity of the relationships between Gerda and Einar is an added problem for the characters and gives the film layers.

The cast did raise some problems.  While Redmayne’s performance was great some felt the character should have been performed by a transgender actor or actress.  While this point does have validity, it gets into the slippery slope of when it is acceptable.  Older movies had to deal with blackface and other racial stereotypes…now, gender stereotypes are opened for questioning, but is the “best act—or/ress” for a role a stand as well?

the danish girl 2015 eddie redmayne modeling

I might need this in a few years

Alicia Vikander plays the dutiful wife who still loves her husband but cannot be what he needs.  Her performance raised questioned during the award season since she is featured in over half the movie and received a Best Supporting Actress nomination.  The performance is strong, but it does feel like a Best Actress role since the movie is primarily about how this decision affects their relationship.

The Danish Girl is a timely movie because it goes back to the beginning of the fight for gender rights in a time when Congressmen are battling bathroom bills and other laws involving transgender people.  Here, the idea of rights and civil liberties isn’t an issue…it was part of the first “great leap”…and history was made (regardless if it is “real” history or not).

Related Links:

The 88th Academy Award Nominations

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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