The Danish Girl

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The Danish Girl

It’s the 1920s, and Einar Wegener (Eddie Redmayne) is the toast of Copenhagen’s artistic scene. His wife Gerda (Alicia Vikander), also a painter, asks him to model a dress for one of her works, and gradually he begins to spend more and more time living as a woman named Lili. Eventually she comes to support him in this. The medical establishment of the time isn’t quite so understanding, but eventually Elbe finds a doctor who offers something radical and new: sex reassignment surgery.
The early scenes are the best here, vividly illustrating the couple’s marriage and the struggles they both face in the wake of Einar’s new life. Unfortunately, this film never manages to dig down into Einar’s character, so the increasing focus on Redmayne’s limited performance in the second half tends to leave this film a little awash in repeated shots of him imitating the gestures of every woman he sees. Gerda’s plight is pushed aside (understandably; it’s not her story), but that leaves the love triangle in the second half somewhat limp. Lili isn’t Einar so ending their marriage isn’t dramatic for her, while Gerda’s attachment isn’t fleshed out enough to make her moving on to Lili’s friend Hans (Matthias Schoenaerts) an issue either.
Reviewed by Anthony Morris