Film review: THE DANISH GIRL (15)

The Danish Girl.
The Danish Girl.

SOUTH HOLLAND CENTRE SPALDING, FROM SATURDAY.

CAST: EDDIE REDMAYNE, ALICIA VIKANDER, MATTHIAS SCHOENAERTS, BEN WHISHAW, AMBER HEARD & SEBASTIAN KOCH

RUNNING TIME: 1 HR 59 MINS

DIRECTOR: TOM HOOPER

As one actor proves he is becoming the master of his craft – a young actress shows she’s Hollywood’s new breakout star.

Eddie Redmayne builds on his Oscar-winning turn in A Theory of Everything with another compelling performance as the world’s first transgender patient – but Alicia Vikander’s (Ex Machina) exquisite turn as his suffering wife even betters his performance.

The King’s Speech (and academy award-winning) director Tom Hooper helms this biographical 1920’s Copenhagen-set romantic-drama, which chronicles the remarkable love story of artists Einar (Redmayne) and Gerda Wegener (Vikander).

When Gerda – struggling to come out of the shadow of her more lauded husband – asks him to stand in for a female model for one of her paintings, this inadvertently opens up lifelong feelings that Einar had hidden away deep inside himself.

Soon after – initially on Gerda’s part just for ‘giggles’ – she takes Einar to a party dressed up as a woman, which backfires and leads him to flirtation with Ben Whishaw’s Henrik, as Einar’s alter-ego Lili Elbe is unleashed.

Gerda’s acclaimed paintings lead the couple to Paris, but soon she realises her husband is no longer the man she married, as he struggles to stay out of female attire – with Lili all but extinguishing the memory of Einar.

Her only hope is to selflessly let go of her husband – despite the best intentions of Einar’s art-dealing childhood friend Hans (Matthias Schoenaerts) – by helping him attempt the first-ever male-to-female sex reassignment surgery from Sebastian Koch’s (Bridge of Spies) surgeon, who is one of the few doctors who hasn’t recommended sending him to the ‘loony bin’ for perceived schizophrenia.

Some cracks in Hooper’s generally noteworthy effort – like repetitiveness and plotting issues – are papered over by the intriguing and thoughtful material, some breathtaking backdrops, lavish costume design, and of course, the two terrific headlining performances.

And as the subject matter is generally handled in a touching and caring fashion – this always makes The Danish Girl watchable throughout.


Rating: 4/5 Gavin Miller