Not only is this film beautiful in its cinematic beauty, but it so wonderfully tells the story of the first known transgender woman, Lili. The film in itself is almost the poetry of an unspoken pain within a man who so desperately fights what is inevitable.
The story is based on the fictionalised life of Lili Eble from 2000 novel The Danish Girl, written by David Ebershoff.
It is the story of a young couple Gerda (Alicia Vikander) and Einer (Eddie Redmayne) in the mid 1920s living in Copenhagen. Both artists, Gerda is struggling to find the right subject to bring her talents to the world. That is until she finds her husband enjoys wearing womens clothign, which in turn creates Lili and resulting in Gerda finding the perfect subject to paint.
But what starts as a little bit of fun for the both of them, opens what has been a long and tormenting life of pain and anguish for Einer. And with every effort he fights the temptation to deny Lili to surface, he only feels more comfortable and certain he is trapped in the wrong body.
The story takes you on a journey through the pain and suffering not only Einer and Lily goes through, but also his wife Gerda. Einer physically and mentally takes you through a discovery of exactly what it is he is feeling: the fun and excitement of wearing a dress to a society ball, to tucking his penis between his legs while he feels the fabric of a dress.
But what you don’t expect is the true love and support Einer and Gerda has for each other even when Einer decides to have corrective surgery. Not an easy decision having already gone through radiation therapy and been seen to by countless doctors only to be told he is mentally ill.
The Danish Girls is a beauty in its own, only able with the wonderful vision of Director, Tom Hooper. It was clear the story had to be a form of art in itself as both the subjects were artists. And with that Hooper was able to create this beautiful backdrop to showcase the lives of Einer and Lili.
Hooper is famous for his award winning film, The Kings Speech starring Colin Firth and Geoffery Rush and Les Miserables. Two films Hooper managed to not only capture the stunning efforts of each of the actors but also let the films visually tell the story as well.
The film opens in a beautiful vibrant capture of landscapes and lone trees in lakes. The film spends some time in Copenhagen where the couple first lived. This was before Gerda’s portraits of Lili gained her international success and they moved to Paris. Both these locations added to the beauty and growth of the characters as the cities did itself.
Everywhere they went, every street they walked down the attention to detail was on point. Either adding to the story or creating a further work of art on top of what it was they were painting at the time.
Eddie Redmayne who played Einer and Lili managed to capture every beating emotion and thought in every second he was on the screen. There wasn’t a look he gave that would leave you thinking what he was trying to say. You knew exactly the emotion, confusion or even struggle he was portraying.
Redmayne, most famous for his portrayal as Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything, truly captured the confusion and determination to discover what it was that Einer and Lili were going through. He even managed to portray a true and undying love for his wife and later best friend, as he became a woman. But that wouldn’t have been an easy feat without the right actress to work next to.
Gerda played by Alicia Vikander known for her portrayal as an AI robot in Ex-Machina. Vikander has had a busy year with The Man From UNKLE and is filming the latest Bourne film, which is yet to be titled.
Vikander isn’t just your supporting role in this film. She stands out and throws everything she has at this truly emotion and confronting role. The two of them on screen together capture something amazing even with as much as a glance that most onscreen couples could only dream of.
The film is an honest, brutal, loving caring and open story of the late Lili Eble. It shows just how much torment someone can go through to make such a big decision in his or her life. And how important it is to have the support of loved ones and even that of long lost childhood friend.
This will open the eyes to show people can truly be trapped in the wrong body. And it will help those in the wrong body that they aren’t the only ones.
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