The Danish Girl
THE DANISH GIRL (15)
D: Tom Hooper
Universal/Working Title (Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Anne Harrison, Tom Hooper & Gail Mutrux)
UK/USA/Belgium 🇬🇧 🇺🇸 🇧🇪 2015
W: Lucinda Coxon [based on the book by David Eberhoff]
DP: Danny Cohen
Ed: Melanie Ann Oliver
Mus: Alexandre Desplat
PD: Eve Stewart
Cos: Paco Delgado
Eddie Redmayne (Einar Wegener/Lili Elbe), Alicia Vikander (Gerda Wegener), Matthias Schoenaerts (Hans Axgil), Ben Whishaw (Henrik Sandahl), Amber Heard (Ulla Paulson)
Though this biographical drama does have roots in the true life events concerning a Danish artist becoming one of the first people to undergo a sex change operation, the on-screen events, as well as the book by David Eberhoff, are majorly fictionalised.
It's quite subjective who the title refers to, since it could quite easily be in reference to Gerda Wegener, Alicia Vikander's character, who gets just as much screen-time as Eddie Redmayne's Einar Wegener / Lili Elbe, and her character is much easier to empathise with, whereas Eddie Redmayne, despite a great performance, isn't helped with great characterisation in the screenplay, as to why a married artist, devoted to his wife, would suddenly decide that he would like to live his wife as a woman. It's dealt with here like a bit of whimsy brought on by the kinky thrill of cross-dressing.
Though the performances make the film worth watching, the cinematography, production design and costumes are also brilliant, making each frame seem like a real-life oil painting. Alicia Vikander is quite easily the best thing about the film though, and while her performance won her an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress, it has to be acknowledged that she was the lead in this production.
Like Lili Elbe herself, the film is dressed up beautifully, it just doesn't show us what truly lies beneath.