The Danish Girl – A Review

Yesterday (New Year’s Day) I took a trip to the cinema to see the highly anticipated The Danish Girl. I had been desperate to see it ever since first seeing it advertised, with both the casting of Eddie Redmayne in the lead role and the spectacular look of the film enticing me to see it.

I had high expectations of The Danish Girl from how incredible the films trailer made it look. Overall, it is a great film. It is shot beautifully, the cast are all incredible in their roles, with leading actors Eddie Redmayne and Alicia Vikander providing the best performances, and the story of the first man to undergo sex reassignment surgery is an intriguing and compelling one.

The Danish Girl really leaves you thinking. I came out of the cinema with more of an understanding of what people who feel they have been born in the wrong body have to go through when deciding to undergo sex change surgery, and how this decision completely alters their lives and the lives of those around them. This film couldn’t have been released at a better time. The world is changing, and a growing understanding and acceptance of gender reassignment is taking place in many countries. With any luck, The Danish Girl will only fuel people’s understanding and will help people to accept just what so many have to go through.

The true story of Lili Ebe and his wife Gerda is one of the most interesting to watch, and whilst the film overall portrays this story in an attention grabbing manner, there are parts which I feel could have been shortened in order for the film to move a bit quicker.

It becomes obvious very quickly that there is a feminine side to Redmayne’s male Eignar Wegener, but it takes a while to actually get to the point where people around him realise that he enjoys dressing as a woman. I understand that the films director Tom Hooper intended this, as the process of Eignar and his wife Gerda coming to terms with what is happening to him was no doubt a long one. In my opinion, I feel this process could have been portrayed just as well, but perhaps in less time in order to keep the audience engaged.

Having read the story of Lili Ebe before watching The Danish Girl, I first thought that suspicions about Gerda Wegener being a lesbian were being portrayed through the characters apparent enjoyment in her husband first dressing as a woman, in particular the scene where she uncovers Eignar wearing one of her own dresses, and the pair seemingly go on to have sex. However, this enjoyment soon turns into confusion and I came to realise that this side of Gerda’s character was not being shown, but rather she sees it as a game herself and Eignar are playing.

Despite this one moment of overlapping confusion between true events and Hooper’s interpretations of David Ebershoff’s novel, and times where the film is perhaps a bit too slow paced, The Danish Girl is a wonderful film that portrays a heartbreaking story. If Redmayne and Vikander are not recognised during this years awards season, then there is something wrong with the world. They were perfectly cast and they both do amazing performances. I would highly recommend it, and would definitely watch it again, but I think I would have made it that bit shorter if I was the films director.


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