The Danish Girl Film Review

January 23, 2016

Plot Summary:
A fictitious love story loosely inspired by the lives of Danish artists Lili Elbe and Gerda Wegener. Lili and Gerda's marriage and work evolve as they navigate Lili's groundbreaking journey as a transgender pioneer. (via IMBD)
Watching films in Yorkshire is a weird thing, I've come to gather. It's not what's playing on the screen, as that's the same in every cinema worldwide, but more of the clientele that visit the screen with you. When I saw Titanic in the cinemas, a man maybe of 20 years shouted "HE'S FUCKING DEAD" as we all saw Jack slip away into the waters. When I saw The Danish Girl, another man, maybe of 60 years, repeatedly uttered "Bloody Hell" every time something that wasn't seen as correct 100 years ago came onto the screen. And yes, that includes a close up of Eddie Redmayne's penis. So as I first start to think of a review of the film, that's what comes to mind. But it shouldn't.
The Danish Girl is what I would call a love story, one which has a clear beginning, middle and end. It's a slow burner, with a beautiful setting that makes me want to visit Copenhagen tomorrow. Today even. It's a film that I would describe as made for awards ceremonies and the Academy Award ballot voters. It's truly beautiful, and the acting in it was, in some parts, sublime. But there was just something missing.
I don't know what it is, because the memories of it are of a film that I felt proud to have watched, enlightened even, as I saw somebody who obviously was torturing himself in his mind as he had to pretend to be the man he know he wasn't. It had humour, and Eddie Redmayne's style of acting really brought that out, every slight upturn of the lips timed just correctly so that it caused a smile for the viewer as well.
But then at the same time, it was filled with a hell of a lot of clich├ęs. As Einar steps out of the house and goes to a function as Lili for the first time, he/she/a gender neutral pronoun kisses a bloke and GUESS WHAT?! His wife sees. Shock horror. Oh my god. So damn predictable like a high school movie. Lili seems to fit every stereotypical female gesture into the space of five minutes, the careful caressing of ones own face, the shy laugh to a potential date... it screamed of a Disney Channel movie rather than what will probably be an Oscar winning one.
Yet the saving grace of the film was Alicia Vikander, who played Einar's wife Gerda. Although from history books we know that Gerda wasn't the person you'd think she was from this movie, she played her part perfectly. You could see the hurt and the happiness in her eyes every step of the way and she deserves that Best Supporting Actress nod, even if she doesn't win it.
As a story I enjoyed it. As an experience, it was one I don't believe I'll be participating in again unless it pops up on Amazon Prime. See it for yourself and leave your reviews in the comment box below.
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