Saturday, February 27, 2016

The Danish Girl

Eddie Redmayne, Alicia Vikander,
Amber Heard

"Find the Courage to be Yourself"


Set in Copenhagen in the 1920s, this Tom Hooper directed film is elegant and delicately narrated. As delicate as its lead character, Einar Wegener (Eddie Redmayne) a Swedish painter/artist who is credited as one of the earliest transgender persons to come out publicly. During an era when such behavior was largely frown upon and not accepted in society, Einar was fiercely bold in his aim to be who s/he really was.

The intriguing part is that Einar biggest supporter was his wife, Gerda (Alicia Vikander) also a renowned artist. A much celebrated painter who gained fame after she painted her husband as a lady (even though nobody knew it was him) and her paintings were always sold out during its exhibition in galleries around Europe.

Einar and Gerda eventually settled in Paris after she was commissioned to present her acclaimed paintings in a gallery in the city of lights. It was also a "convenient" place to call the French capital home as it was a more liberal city thus enabling  Einar to be herself by openly dressing up in women's clothes and going by the name ... Lili Elbe.

Eddie Redmayne as expected shines in any type of roles and dressing as a woman just happens to be another requirement for his character. He did well and his mannerisms as a woman were spot on. His genuine portrayal was appropriate and it was easy to empathize with this complex and tragic character. 

Redmayne and Vikander have good chemistry together even though their roles require so much from them, physically and mentally. For me, Alicia Vikander was quite a revelation as this was my first time to see her in a film and her nuanced performance was excellent. "The Danish Girl" in the title refers to her character Gerda Wegener who was the wing beneath Lili's wings and her unconditional support for her "husband" was very admirable. 

This film is the perfect vehicle for the two main leads to highlight their acting prowess. It is also a good tribute as it pays homage to the brave souls who fought for their rights to be recognized as members of not just the LGBT community but of society, itself.

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