By Ella Robertson
It’s common to hear “don’t judge a book by its cover,” but seldom is it said not to judge a movie by its opening scene. Within the first few minutes of The Danish Girl, I was taken aback by its excellent cinematography and beautiful portrayal of the landscape, but at the same time my expectations were low, as I expected the remainder of the movie to contain a pretentious, hollow plot. Much to my surprise, my initial expectations of the movie proved to be dead wrong.
The Danish Girl, a movie directed by Tom Hooper, stars Eddie Redmayne as early transgender trailblazer Lili Elbe. After a portrait client fails to show for an appointment, artist Gerda Wegner asks her husband, Einar Wegener to put on women’s stockings and shoes so that she may finish the painting. From this instance, Wegner recognizes an alter ego, Lili, and begins to embrace life as a woman. The movie combines art and the concept of love with the struggle of coming to terms with one’s gender identity in an especially unaccepting time.
In daily life, I consider myself to be a relatively unemotional person, but in the theater I was almost constantly on the brink of tears. The strained relationship between Lili and her former wife, Gerda, was heartbreaking in its own right, but the struggle that Lili faced in order to find people that would accept her gender identity was especially harrowing.
As stated earlier, the cinematography was wonderful. There were beautiful scenes of not only nature, but art that the two main characters created. The music was mellow and inspiring, but did not overpower the story itself. Despite all of these positive points, the most impressive aspects of the film remained the strong story line as well as Redmayne’s acting in his role as Lili.
Redmayne was able to capture an array of characters in only one role; the first being Einar, the reserved, talented artist, and the second being Lili, the charming, quirky woman. The range of emotion that he was able to achieve in both characters is incredible, and I have never seen another actor take on a daunting task with such ease.
The Danish Girl is not just another pretentious art house film, as one could think at first glance. It is an emotional ride that has you supporting all characters, even when they are on different sides of a conflict. If you love moving, sentimental movies rather than those that are fast-paced and action packed, it would be wise to reserve some time in your week to go see The Danish Girl.
Photo courtesy of NBC News