Biographical films work best if its subject provides interest. Whether about someone or an event, on-screen writers have to craft a compelling narrative from sometimes mundane sources. ‘The Danish Girl’ fits the bill in generating attention. Loosely based on the life of one of the world’s first transgendered person, ‘The Danish Girl’ offers an intriguing examination of identity. Aided by a strong cast, this film based on David Ebershoff’s book succeeds in informing in an interesting way.
In the 1920’s, artist Gerda (Alicia Vikander) asks her husband Einar (Eddie Redmayne) to stand in for a female model. Becoming increasingly popular as a result, Gerda asks Einar to continue modelling for her. Soon he develops an attraction to the female form and eventually decides to live as a woman. Wanting gender re-assignment surgery, Einar’s outlook proves ground-breaking. Gradually Gerda and Einar fight the myriad of changes this brings as their marriage rapidly unwinds.
One of the best aspects of ‘The Danish Girl’ is the startling cinematography. Each shot is lovingly rendered to tease out the period in which the film is set. Mentioning the scenery first isn’t a slight against the rest of the film as ‘The Danish Girl’ is a high quality production. Whilst certain liberties may have been taken with the true-life tale, there is enough to become fully immersed in Einar’s plight. Feeling trapped inside a man’s body, his gradual transformation into a woman is believable and interesting.
His relationship with his wife provides most of the drama, although Einar’s dealings with the attitudes of the era also engage. Still shaped in a Victorian mind-set, the society of the day was another barrier to Einar’s wishes. The emotional and physical pain he endures is made worse by these constant road-blocks. Tom Hooper’s sympathetic direction offers the character’s viewpoints well as they attempt to deal with previously un-heard of issues.
‘The Danish Girl’ is an expertly handled movie dealing with a myriad of issues. Redmayne’s and Vikander’s excellent performances aid in highlighting how the burden of ignorance transcends all ages with education the key in understanding complex subjects.
Movie Review Rating out of 10: 8
Movie Review by Patrick Moore
Agree with Patrick's Movie Review? Then please use the comment box.
Patrick Moore's Movie Review is an alternative look at movie releases in Australia.