FILM REVIEW: The Danish Girl starring Eddie Redmayne and Alicia Vikander

WORTH A LOOK?: ***1/2

OUT: 1/1/16

British director Tom Hooper’s last two films – The King’s Speech and Les Miserables – won seven Oscars between them and so hopes are high for this, the story of one of the first recipients of sex reassignment surgery.

This is the story of Einar Wegener (played sensitively by 2015 Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne for his portrayal of Stephen Hawking), his artist wife Gerda (Alicia Vikander, convincing in a complicated role) set in 1920s Copenhagen.

Gerda asks Einar to pose in women’s clothes for her and awakens something in her husband which leads to him dressing as Lili Elbe and becoming the subject of his wife’s increasingly successful portraits.

One of our favourite actors Ben Whishaw plays Henrik, one of the first men to fall for Lili, as the Wegeners’ marriage becomes increasingly complicated.

Transgender characters are becoming of increasing interest to Hollywood and The Danish Girl is placed brilliantly to capitalise on this. What is shocking here is how little science and medicine is able to help our heroine. Rebecca Root (transgender star of BBC2’s groundbreaking Boy Meets Girl) appears here briefly but what is noteworthy is how rare that is in this cast.

We would have liked Redmayne to bring a little more emotional depth to his captivating physical impersonation of Lili (can he be more than a mimic?) and felt it was Vikander (impressive in Ex Machina already this year) who we felt most for.

As important as it is for mainstream Hollywood movies to include and, indeed, feature transgender characters, we feel the best is still very much to come.

  • Picture via Facebook courtesy The Danish Girl. Tickets from 1/1/16 at Greenwich Picturehouse
  • Enjoyed this review? Follow its author on Twitter @NeilDurham
  • Trailer

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