With a gorgeous look and a script that features an unusual story line, “The Danish Girl” tells the true tale of the first known transgender surgery.
It takes quite a long time to get to the point. Gerda (Alicia Vikander) and Einar (Eddie Redmayne) are artists in Copenhagen in 1926. They are young, happy and in love.
Einar starts to feel drawn to dressing as a woman. His new identity is Lily Elbe. Gerda is ambivalent, but supports her husband.
While it’s based on fact, various incorrect details irked me. Why “Girl” and not “Woman”? In real life, Gerda was the more successful of the two, as an artist, yet this film takes liberties with that and many other truths.
It’s Tom Hooper at the helm, so you know you won’t have to deal with any icky actual surgery. Only tiny bits of blood appear and none of them exist, during or after the operations.
This movie is at its most effective when it’s tackling the conflicted emotions of the two leads. The relationship is hard to watch, at times, but feels real.
Matthias Schoenaerts, Amber Heard and Ben Whishaw stand out in smaller roles.
There is lots of nice period detail about the life of artists in Copenhagen and Paris. I found Alexandre Desplat’s soundtrack a bit intrusive, at times and Danny Cohen’s cinematography is beautiful, but overwhelms the characters in key scenes.
Paco Delgado’s costume design is outstanding.
Still, the big transformation of Einar into Lily is astonishing. Eddie is never as pretty as Alicia, but he does make an interesting and compelling female.
It’s bound to get a few Oscar nominations. I liked it and enjoyed watching it, although a few scenes seemed to linger a little too long.
The audience at Stratford East Picturehouse admired it, but got restless during the slow bits. People will talk about it so you should see it.