The Danish Girl – Movie Review

"The Danish Girl" is inspired by the lives of Danish artists Lili Elbe and Gerda Wegener.
“The Danish Girl” is inspired by the lives of Danish artists Lili Elbe and Gerda Wegener.

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Genre: Biography, Drama, Romance
Directed by:
 Tom Hooper
Starring:
Eddie Redmayne, Alicia Vikander, Amber Heard
Released by:
 Focus Features, Universal Pictures International
Run Time: 1h 59 min
Year:
2015

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Directed by Tom Hopper (“The King’s Speech,” “Les Misérables”), “The Danish Girl” is a beautifully made film that tells the story of Lili Elbe and her transition from man to woman in late-1920s Copenhagen and Paris. Today, the subject of transgenderism is very present in our media, but during Lili’s lifetime, it was almost unheard of; she was one of the first people to get sex-reassignment surgery. This film eloquently tells the story from three emotional perspectives; of a man becoming woman, of a passionate marriage between man and woman evolving to the caring friendship of two women, and the story of a woman losing her husband to a new persona.


Eddie Redmayne is phenomenal as Einar/Lili, showing all of the physical and emotional changes with subtle but powerful grace. Alicia Vikander’s Gerda, wife of Einar, brilliantly portrays love, lust, friendship and empathy for this person at every stage. In one of the most powerful scenes, Gerda, having accepted that her husband is becoming a woman, is speaking with Lili but asks if she can please speak with Einer because she misses and needs to speak with her husband. She further pleads for Lili to bring him back but Lili responds that she cannot. It’s the pivotal moment when Gerda realizes that she has lost her husband forever. The scene is heartbreaking. All the while, Gerda’s love for Einar/Lili is unbreakable.


The film takes us from the moment Einar realizes his deeply hidden desire to become a woman to her life after the reassignment surgery. Sets, score, costumes and the entire supporting cast are all top notch, especially Matthias Schoenaerts, who portrays Einar’s childhood friend with complexity and compassion.


Learn more at “The Danish Girl” official website


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