With Glamour magazines latest announcement of Caitlyn Jenner being named Woman of the Year, it suffices to pose the question about how Lili Elbe would have survived in a world that on a daily basis is becoming more and more accepting of the transgender community.
Director Tom Hooper and Academy Award winner Eddie Redmayne have teamed up and the results are electric! Based on David Ebershoff novel of the same name and screenplay by Lucinda Coxon, The Danish Girl is showing a softer, more vulnerable characterization of Eddie Redmayne as the real-life transgender pioneer Lile Elbe, all while revealing the love story with Lili”s (Einar) wife Gerda (lovingly played by Alicia Vikander.
In 1926, Lili Elbe, a very successful painter living in Copenhagen, underwent one of the first known reconstructive procedures to surgically remove her penis, replace it with a vagina and begin the journey to complete her transformation as a woman. We watch as Lili (formerly Einar) becomes ridiculed, beaten and gets used to dressing in women’s clothes, makeup and how Gerda (as helpful and supportive as she is) has a hard time letting go of Einar and embracing Lili.
It’s safe to say that Redmayne has secured a spot as a Best Actor nominee with this performance. Just as with his award-winning performance in The Theory of Everything, Redmayne has studied all the nuances of being a female to make his portrayal totally believable from the very first moment he slides those thigh-highs on to pose for a painting to his very last breath as Lilli.
As his better half Gerda, Alicia Vikander is a having a great year in film, having starred in both The Man From U.N.C.L.E. and Ex Machina. She better get that red carpet dress ready because she is going to be a very busy girl this awards season. Her choice of not making Gerda bitter is brilliant and makes the film and her character so much richer and interesting to watch.
Opening in theaters around Thanksgiving, The Danish Girl is fascinating, entertaining and heartbreaking — you’ll love it!