Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Film Review: The Danish Girl

The Danish Girl Film

Review by Lauren

IMDB SummaryA fictitious love story loosely inspired by the lives of Danish artists Lili Elbe and Gerda Wegener. Lili and Gerda's marriage and work evolve as they navigate Lili's groundbreaking journey as a transgender pioneer.

Review: Hopefully you saw my Repost Review for The Danish Girl by David Ebershoff, but if not, check back a few posts. I read this book back in 2010 and thought it was done really well. I was very excited to hear that this was finally being turned into a film and when I realized that Eddie Redmayne was going to portray Einar Wegener/Lili Elbe, I was even more excited. I was sure he would do justice to this character and he did! I wish I had more time to read the book again before seeing the film, but alas, I did not. Regardless, the film of The Danish Girl was beautifully done.

The overall story is about married couple Einar and Gerda, who are both artists. Needing help to finish a portrait she is painting, Gerda has her husband wear stockings and female shoes, as well as hold up a dress so that she can get the right look. This sparks something within Einar that he has tried to push aside his whole life. Soon he is desperate to live life as his new persona, Lili. Gerda is fine to go along with it at first. Being transgender wasn't known at the time. People who felt they were really the opposite gender were seen as crazy. For Gerda, she got a live model to dress up and yet, she did not lose her husband. It became tougher to understand when she realized that Einar no longer truly existed.

I do not want to go through the whole plot of the film, as that would be very boring for you to read and it would ruin the experience. As a viewer, you could sense her confusion and pain. She wanted Einar to be happy and she vehemently disagreed with doctor's who said her husband was crazy. At the same time, she didn't know what she was supposed to do. This wasn't "normal" behavior was it? What could she do to make sure that Einar was happy? Gerda was strong, yet she still had her moments where all she wanted was for her husband to hold her and love her.

As for Einar and Lili, the transition starts a bit slow at first, but it doesn't take long for Lili to be the main person Redmayne portrays. She is lovely and you feel sorry for the things she has to endure to be herself. It's not always easy seeing Gerda and Lili together because they want such vastly different things, yet at the same time, they both want each other to be happy. Redmayne did a fantastic job as Lili, truly showing the feminine side of Einar and emotionally exhibiting the turmoil and then joy that Einar experiences once he lets out Lili.

There are some secondary characters that are equally as good, but The Danish Girl is very much a film of love and friendship between actress Vikander and actor Redmayne. While the film was not nominated for an Oscar, the two leads were, and I do hope to see at least one of them win at the end of the month. I hope some of you will find the time to see this movie before the Oscars air, and if not, then definitely sometime soon. It's worth a view. It's a moving portrait of the first transgender person to undergo reconstruction surgery in Berlin, but more than that, it's a love story.


Karen said...

This story really caught my attention. I can't wait to see this movie. Great review!

Verushka said...


Gotta watch ASAP (thanks for an awesome review, Lauren!)

Lola said...

Oh this sounds like a good movie. I read one book so far about a transgender person and I really enjoyed it. I do wonder if the actor who plays the transgender girl is actually a male or female or if they have different actors? Must be hard to get that part right, but it sounds like it all works out great.

Unknown said...

My curiosity for this film lies on how the wife must be feeling. How she copes with her husband's identity and needs. I hope this hits cable soon!

JezzebellJC said...

So glad to hear that the movie turned out so good! I love Redmayne so I can imagine that he portrayed the character well with his great acting chops.