I got to see The Danish Girl last week just before it’s official release on New Year’s Day and it was, in all honesty, one of the best biopics I’ve seen in ages.
The Danish Girl follows the journey of Einar Wegener (Eddie Redmayne), a married twenty-something artist. Einar is introduced as an established and well know painter who lives in Denmark with Gerda, his wife/fellow artist (Alicia Vikander). Lili (Einar’s ‘true’ self) is ‘discovered’ after one of Gerda’s friend doesn’t arrive to model for one of her pieces, she seeks help from her husband. She asks him to wear a dress which brings Einar to the sudden realisation that he in fact feels more like a she. The film then follows Einar’s physical and social transition into Lili Elbe.
Even though the casting of Eddie Redmayne as Einar/Lili was very controversial as he is a cis gendered (identifies with the gender that corresponds to their biological/born sex) man that was to play a transgender woman. Controversy aside, Eddie was great as both Einar and Lili. He made sure to give a faithful adaptation and interpretation by going to meet with members of the transgender community. The term ‘transgender’ is never actually mentioned in the film but the synopsis makes it clear that Lili Elbe was the very first person to undergo proper sex reassignment surgery.
I went into the film not really knowing much about Einar or Lili’s lives and never even seeing Eddie Redmayne act. Even so, the film left me with tears in my eyes and full of sympathy for Lili and all actively involved but still laughing at the witty comments scattered throughout.
The Danish Girl is in cinemas now.