‘The Danish Girl’ is the girl worth fighting for

Video Courtesy of Focus Features


Image Courtesy of Focus Features

Lili stares off as Gerda paints her portrait.

Holly Chen, Staff Writer

A pale hand traces the hem of a white dress. A quick downward glance at silk stockings. A gentle breath, releasing one’s confinements or realizing who one truly is. This moment is sensuous, yet enlightening. Breaths are held still as vivid colors consume the simple elegance of the moment. This is how we meet Lili.

“The Danish Girl” is based on the true story of Lili Wegener and chronicles her journey as a pioneer for the transgender community. The film uses these realistic elements to create a beautiful tale built on raw human emotions.

Einar Wegener (played by Eddie Redmayne) was a successful artist married to a loving wife, Gerda (played by Alicia Vikander). They both longed for a child, but accepted that they might not be able to produce one. One day, Gerda asked Einar to pose for an absent model. What began as a joke, as Einar pretending to be his “cousin,” Lili, soon became very serious when Einar realized he truly was Lili.

It is no surprise that Redmaynde received an Academy Award nomination for best actor. His portrayal of Lili’s transformation was both touching and realistic. Every action done relayed a deep part of Lili’s soul. In the middle of the film, Einar franitcally rushed to the ballet studio and stripped himself naked. Viewers saw the confusion in his eyes, as he curled his body to make makeshift breasts out of that position. Viewers saw the longing on Einar’s face, as he tucks his penis in between his legs, and gently raised his fingers to stroke his face.

The beauty of the film was not only Redmayne’s poignant performance, but also Vikander’s. She silently stole the show. What began as a joke spiraled out of control, and Gerda picked up the pieces, trying to understand the man she married. She loved Einar and tried to love him as Lili. There were moments of total isolation, as Gerda yelled, “I want to speak to my husband!” Lili responded with, “Einar is dead.” Yet through it all, Gerda is the one that stayed by Lili’s side.

“The Danish Girl” had a strong leading cast, but lacked in its supporting characters. Hans (played by Mathias Schoenaerts), the first boy that Lili kissed, was a weak character that served no purpose other than being a pretty wallflower. Hans’ main interactions were with Gerda, but their relationship was both confusing and boring. Their romance seemed forced, because Vikander and Schoenaerts lacked chemistry. Gerda often used Hans as an emotional punching bag, and whenever Gerda and Lili were fighting, Gerda would go to Hans to yell at him.

All in all, the film was memorable and beautiful. Moments were tender and played out. “The Danish Girl” will be remembered as a classic.

[star rating=”4″]