Synopsis: Danish guy artist in 1920’s realizing their true identity as a Danish Girl. Not surprisingly, wife conflicted about situation.
English actor Eddie Redmayne stars as the titular character in director Tom Hooper’s The Danish Girl. The script is loosely based on the life of the Danish painter Einar Wegener and the realization of their real female gender identity. Einar lives in 1920’s Copenhagen with his beautiful wife, Gerda (Alicia Vikander), also a painter. They have plenty of encounters with other good-looking people like the ballet dancer Ulla (Amber Heard), the sylph-like Ben Whishaw as Henrik and the imposingly man-ful Matthias Schoenaerts as art dealer, Hans. Mostly they dally about their apartment painting canvases and stroking fine women’s clothing. Sometimes they frisk through the streets giggling like school girls.
All is well until, one day Gerda asks Einar to dress and pose as a woman dancer for a painting. Einar has a revelatory moment whilst putting on stockings wherein a repressed femininity is brought to the surface. Before long, Einar is going into trance-like reveries when presented with luxury women’s apparel. Gerda is a free spirit and indulges Einar, making up his face, slipping wigs onto his head, demonstrating how to walk like a lady and christening Einar “Lili.”
But Lili has a challenge beyond their transformative gender realization… As previously noted, Lili is from Copenhagen. Now, I have been there and let me tell you it is full of people who are so, so beautiful. I nearly tumbled into a canal, agog at all of the stunning men and women going about their business. I assume that the genes of the early 20th Century played out the same attractiveness-wise, so our protagonist has a lot of pressure: Will Lili be regarded–not just as a woman– but as a beautiful woman?
Unfortunately, the gorgeous wife is dismayed by her husband’s announcement that they are, in fact, a woman. Maybe she has even unwittingly encouraged him, like when she was sketching him one night and asked when he got so pretty. In one scene, Lili frets, “I’ll never be as pretty as you.” Well, duh, none of us will, she’s Alicia Vikander!
Lili begins attending soirees with Gerda. One night, Lili is approached by an intrigued fellow party goer, Henrik, and Lili is flattered by the attention. We sense that Einar wouldn’t cheat on Gerda but Lili is another story and they kiss. Gerda happens upon them and, naturally, is not pleased.
Fortunately, as Lili drifts from Gerda, she is comforted by handsome Hans the art dealer, a smoking hot man. The smart move would be to say “au revoir” to Lili and take up with Hans who clearly wants to have sex with Gerda. Alas, the movie would end too cheerily and it is A VERY SERIOUS MOVIE. So both Lili/ Eddie Redmayne and Gerda/Alicia Vikander will suffer at least long enough to earn Academy Award nominations.
Lili has to be brave because living your true gender identity can be painful, especially if you need to be beautiful too. Because in Copenhagen, a Danish girl can’t just be a girl, she has to be a pretty girl. As for myself, I was sort of glad to leave Copenhagen and not be jostled by attractive people at every turn. Best for gorgeous people to stay where they belong: in the movies.
Cut to the Chase: Sensitive, yet sorta dull.
Comedy Highlight: Uber British Isles-looking Eddie R. as a Dane.