The Danish Girl (2015, Tom Hooper) was the third film chosen by me for my marathon of films nominated for awards and I have to confess, I made a great choice.
The film will tell the story of Lili Elbe. Born as Einar Wegener, Lili finds herself trapped in a body, an image, a life that isn’t her. After years repressing who she really was, Lili decides to be herself and in 1930 becomes one of the first people to go through a sex change surgery. The film also tells a beautiful love story between Gerda Wegener, Einars wife and Lili/Einar. The Danish Girl is a book adaptation of the homonym book by David Ebershoff.
The film looks like a painting. Each camera framing, the colours and scenery scenes form what could pass as masterpieces of renowned painters. In addition, the art is represented in every second of film, either by the protagonists who are painters and designers, by the numerous paintings and drawings scattered throughout the scenarios or the ballerina friend.
Eddie Redmayne, who plays Lili and Einar, once again shows his mastery in interpreting a complex and difficult character. With subtlety, he explores the confusion and fear of Lili during the most important and challenging phase of her life.
A wonderful surprise was Alicia Vikander, who plays Gerda. I didn’t know the actress and I was surprised with her performance, which to me, stole the spotlight during the film. She got through in an exquisite way, all the anguish and confusion of her character. (I really hope she win an award for this performance).
For me, the most truthful and purest form of love is when you sacrifice your happiness for the happiness of your partner, even if it means that you must let the person go. This is the love portrayed in The Danish Girl. In a time when homosexuality and transgenderism subjects were treated like madness, to understand, accept and support the new identity of someone who for the last six years was your husband, is something that takes a lot of courage and love. Gerda gave up her life, her husband and her happiness at that moment, and for me, that’s love.
During her childhood, Lili had already shown signs that something wasn’t right. But she stifled that feeling until she couldn’t anymore. Although only a few people knew what Lili was doing, she remained strong and courageous until the end.
My only observation is the fact that it had only two small parts of real transgender people in the film.
With subtlety, delicacy and poetic atmosphere, The Danish Girl presents a love story that goes beyond the boundaries of gender. A story of a person in process of self-knowledge and acceptance and that with great courage pursues the realization of finally being who always tried to hide.
I want to clarify that I haven’t read the book in which the film was inspired and I also don’t know the true story of Lili and Gerda to know whether the film is true or not. My review was based strictly on the film.
I end my review with a beautiful dialogue from the film.
– The doctor, he…
– He fixed a mistake of nature.
– Then he made you a woman?
– No. God made me a woman, but the doctor… the doctor was curing me of the sickness that was my disguise.