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The Danish Girl is an Emotional and Eye-Opening Film

Posted by cfeehan on March 11, 2016

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The Danish Girl is an Oscar-winning and heart-rending story that takes place in Copenhagen, Denmark in 1926 and follows the lives of painter Einar Wegener and his wife Gerda. At this time, Einar is a very well-known painter and his wife is struggling to build her own reputation in the same field. One day, Gerda’s model cannot be there, so she asks Einar to adorn women’s shoes and a dress and fill in for her. He is intrigued by the feeling it gives him, and this leads to a turbulent journey of self-discovery. Keep in mind that this movie is rated R, as it definitely contains some sensitive and mature themes.

I don’t usually begin by discussing the casting, but I feel as though it’s necessary for this movie. Eddie Redmayne, who won Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role for The Theory of Everything last year, was absolutely brilliant in this role. Every single scene where he was required to portray feminine characteristics was so impressive and convincing, and the scenes where he is alone and discovering who he really is are crafted as incredibly intimate, almost to the point where you feel as if you’re intruding on this emotional moment he’s having with himself. It’s really well-done, and Redmayne does a fantastic job.

Of course, the discussion on casting would not be complete if I did not give a huge kudos to Alicia Vikander, who played Gerda Wegener. You may know her from Ex Machina, but her portraya as Gerda definitely takes the cake as her most remarkable role yet. She won the Oscar for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for this film, and she absolutely deserved it. As Gerda, she showed an incredible amount of strength, perseverance, and understanding for her husband’s situation, and she conveyed her emotions perfectly. I was very impressed, and I don’t think they could have gotten two more fitting leads for the film.

I had to keep reminding myself throughout the film that it was based on a true story. Einar and Gerda Wegener were real people who actually had to go through this difficult situation decades before it became widely recognized. As the movie portrays, no one, not even trained doctors, understands the circumstances in the 1920s, because they are not at all commonplace. It may be easier for some of us to sympathize in 2016 because of all of the media coverage of this topic lately, but it’s difficult to imagine how isolating it would have been back then. If you’re not convinced, just watch the movie and I think your mind will be changed. Or, read up on Einer and Gerda’s life story here. But I must warn you, it contains spoilers about the movie!

The sheer amount of emotion in this movie was astounding. Gerda’s struggle to support her husband mixed with her confusion about what is really going on was portrayed so well, and Einar’s transition into Lili was filled with sadness, empathy, annoyance, and so many other emotions. And the writing and the music just adds to this emotion; sometimes a line of script would hit me so hard that I would need to sit back and process it for a minute before moving on, and the film score added even more intensity to some of the most vulnerable scenes. I would highly recommend this movie to anyone looking for an emotional film based on a true story, who’s open-minded and also a fan of fantastic acting. So essentially, everyone.

Check out The Danish Girl on Execulink’s VOD channel (ch.100) from March 1st to July 27th, 2016.