The Danish Girl - 4.5 Stars
A superb film, which gives leading lady Alicia Vikander an opportunity to shine like never before.
Based on the book by David Ebershoff, THE DANISH GIRL is the remarkable love story inspired by the lives of Lili Elbe and Gerda Wegener (Eddie Redmayne and Alicia Vikander) It focuses on Lili and Gerda’s marriage and work evolve as they navigate Lili’s groundbreaking journey as a transgender pioneer.
What amazes me about this film is that for the second year in a row actor Eddie Redmayne is getting all the hype for another so-called “Oscar worthy performance.” Yet also, for the second year in a row Redmayne’s performance is not that strong and his female co-star offers a far more detailed, well-rounded and all together stunning performance - it makes Eddie’s performance look like he’s in a high school play!
The other thing that I find quite surprising is how much of an insufferable, mean, selfish person Lili is. No matter how much trauma a person is going through they should know that their life and their trauma impacts on their significant other. Lili seems not to care at all how much Gerda is suffering and is not there for her either as Lili or her husband in Gerda’s moment of need. Redmayne’s performance is OK; really he has the easier role of the two leads and his performance certainly isn’t ground breaking. The supporting cast of Amber Heard, Mathias Schoenaerts and Ben Wishaw were all outstanding. Oh, did I mention how great Alicia Vikander is?
The script and direction are both strong and these are complimented by the performances, music and cinematography. It is “inspired” by true events and I would be curious to know how much has been written for dramatic purposes – was Lili really as selfish as she is portrayed? One element of the script I will criticise is the final scene, the actors didn’t seem to believe it and it was very cliché. I won’t spoil it, but they better offer a DVD cut without it!!
Overall you need to see this movie, it really is ground breaking. I will, however pose the question is this film really about Lili – or is it about Gerda and her struggle. The audience all empathised with Gerda, not Lili, people shed tears for Gerda, not Lili. Most interesting is the fact in a throw-away line Gerda is called the Danish girl…Whoever the film is about it is Alicia Vikander who steals the show and while Eddie Redmayne may take credit it is obvious after you see it who the true star is.
Review by Benjamin Maio Mackay
Screening courtesy of Universal Entertainment