Known for directing beautiful, intense British dramas (and the odd episode of British teen drama Byker Grove), Tom Hooper returns to the big screen with the award-winning The Danish Girl, a delicate, sensitive story of love, friendship, and being true to oneself.
Loosely based on true events, Eddie Redmayne stars as Einar Wegener, a popular landscape artist. With his wife Gerda (Alicia Vikander), a fellow creative, the pair seem to live in harmony, making money through their passion for paint. However, when Gerda asks Einar to pose as a woman for a portrait, their lives start to slowly unravel as Einar slips into who he’s always truly identified as – a lady named Lili.
As Lili starts to finally enjoy her life, Gerda struggles to come to terms with the ‘loss’ of her husband. And when Lili announces that she’s ready to take the final step towards becoming herself, Gerda has to face the reality of losing Einar – and possibly Lili – forever.
As expected from a Hooper film, The Danish Girl is visually stunning. Full of crisp, sumptuous colour and attention to detail, the camera glides from scene to scene, room to room, following Redmayne and Vikander as they seem to almost dance together on screen. Whilst Vikander’s forthright, headstrong Gerda insists on encouraging her husband’s true self, Eddie’s Lili is shy, quiet, almost shying away from the camera’s attention. The pair make a beautiful couple, and it’s obvious throughout that they have chemistry – a joy to watch.
If you’re already aware of the original source material then The Danish Girl is an enjoyable watch. If not, it’s a fascinating insight into the early trials of reassignment surgery, which was just being tested in the early 1920s. With many complications to the operation, Eddie portrays Lili’s fear perfectly – to be herself she must take the biggest risk.
Nominated for numerous awards, it’s clear that The Danish Girl is a special film, accolades or not. At times it may be a little too sentimental but this can be overlooked when you focus on the power of the performances from Eddie and Alicia.
The Danish Girl is released on DVD and Blu-ray on 16th May, pre-order now.