The Danish Girl – Movie Review

Lili would give anything and everything to live as her truest most authentic self

The Danish Girl tells the remarkable story inspired by the lives of Lili Elbe and Gerda Wegener. Lili Elbe was one of the first people to ever undergo gender confirmation surgery. The movie tells not only her story but that of the incredible support of Gerda Wegener as she transitions.Married painters Einar Wegener, landscapes, and Gerda Wegener portraits, lived in Copenhagen and enjoyed a loving marriage. While playfully posing in a dress for a portrait for Gerda, Einar experiences a transformation that will change their lives forever.

Eddie Redmayne as Einar Wegener

What follows is the extraordinary life of Lili and Gerda as they navigate how their marriage and lives change while Lili begins to live her life as a woman.  Lili becomes Gerda’s new muse and experiences a surge in creativity and popularity in her work.

Eddie Redmayne as Lili Elbe and Alicia Virkander as Gerda Wegener

Lili soon draws the attention of Henrik (Ben Whishaw) while at a party with Gerda and the two share an intimate moment which is witnessed by Gerda. Following this development the two explore further what Lili is experiencing and what it means for their future together.

Ben Whishaw as Henrik

The two soon move to the more open-minded city of Paris. Here Gerda continues to flourish in her creative endeavours but misses the touch of her husband. Lili finds it increasingly difficult to be anyone but herself and they make the decision to explore therapies which may help her to explain her feelings. Together, hand in hand, they take the first steps which lead to Lili’s gender confirmation surgery.

Eddie Redmayne as Lili Elbe

Eddie Redmayne is extraordinary as both Einar Wegener and Lili Elbe. His transformation from Einar to Lili is authentic and believable. The subtle physical gestures while still Einar nod to the concealment of Lili. As we get to know Lili, the gestures, nuances and her appearance become lead us to her truest self.

As Gerda, Alicia Vikander delivers a strong, emotional performance which demonstrates perfectly her belief in Lili and who she was. While she understands she may very well lose the person she loves the most in the world she is willing to sacrifice life as she knows it to offer her unfaltering support to Lili.

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Eddie as Lili Elbe

The Danish Girl is directed and produced by Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech, Les Miserables). Having seen the movie it’s no surprise that both Eddie Redmayne and Alicia Vikander were both nominated for Golden Globes. The score by Alexandre Despalt was also nominated.

I’m giving it 4 out of 5.  The story is gripping, thoughtful, emotional and handles the sensitive content with grace and dignity. The bravery of both Lili and Gerda at a time when gender confirmation surgery was in its infancy will be an inspiration to audiences today. The Danish Girl is in cinemas from January 1st 2016.  Check out the trailer below.

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