The Danish Girl
Eddie Redmayne, you son of a bitch. I feel like it was first announced before he even won his award for Best Actor for The Theory of Everything. You know, the news that he would be starring in a film next year called The Danish Girl.
The story for the first male to female transition. The first transgendered person to physically change their sex.
Holy fuck. What are you doing Redmayne? Are you that desperate for two acting awards? Or is this to make amends for Jupiter Ascending.
Either way, you should enjoy this Conan clip from awhile back about Redmayne and his history of playing women.
And this is where it all began.
Einar Wegener (Redmayne) is a young painter living in Copenhagen, Denmark in the 1920s. Life is wonderful. He lives with his wife, Gerda (Alicia Vikander), who is also a painter, but she mostly deals with portraits. Einar is successful at his landscapes and often has bidders. Gerda cannot get a show, because people don’t care about portraits, no matter how well done they are.
Their best friend is a dancer, Ulla (Amber Heard), who keeps flaking on their appointments, so Gerda uses Einar to finish the portrait. He just has to wear the tights and shoes and keep the same pose, no big deal. Either way, they all find it hysterical and they call this new persona Lili.
But it turns out Lili might not be something new. Maybe it goes way back in Einar’s wife when he was kid playing with one of his friends, Hans Axgil (Matthias Schoenaerts), a metal name if any. Either way, Einar doesn’t like public shows, but wants his wife to go to a big one to be scene for her art’s sake. And they agree that he should go in disguise, as Lily. It is very deceiving to everyone outside of their BFF. He is so good at being feminine!
Okay, I will stop beating around the bush. This act nor the first act made him realize he was a woman on the inside. But damn it, it certainly gets him on the path. The path that makes doctors think he should be locked up, to try radical treatments, and eventually, the right doctor who is willing to really listen to him and help. Also featuring Ben Whishaw, as a fellow Denmarkian who totally falls for Lili.
Yeah, I’d say he is a little bit convincing.
This rating is the same rating I gave to The Theory of Everything. I recognized how great Redmayne’s acting was, but the story just didn’t live up to his acting.
In this case, the story lived up to the acting, it just wasn’t as amazing as I had hoped.
Let’s be clear. Redmayne was beyond fantastic. At least a block or two past the word. His transition was incredibly believable. His mannerisms, his weight loss, his fucking everything. I can’t imagine a better person to do this role than him. A third of the way into it, I forgot it was Redmayne, and was so engrossed in the character.
I also need to talk about Vikander, who is having a killer year seemingly out of nowhere (See: Ex Machina, The Man From U.N.C.L.E.). Her character went through a lot as well, you know, having her husband lose attractiveness to her and come out as a woman. It was hard on her in real life, and you could see the pain in Vikander’s eyes, not sure what she should do or encourage. In fact, this film really should have been called The Danish Girls to a bit more accurate.
Some may say it is too much about the wife though. A lot of scenes from her point of view, keeping Lili a bit more of a mystery. It did a lot for the real Lili Elbe, but man, the filmmakers almost tried to make it about her wife and not her herself. (Is that grammatically correct? Screw it).
Despite the wonderful acting, there were slower moments. Sometimes they took too long to get to the next important scene. Some parts felt repetitive. But if Redmayne wins again (which I am not calling it yet, because there are some still great acting films coming out this year), it probably won’t feel repetitive, just awesome for a young great actor.