With 2015 done and dusted we are now in the midst of the Oscar favourite January releases. With a release date of New Years Day ‘The Danish Girl’ is the first film I saw in 2016. Starring Eddie Redmayne and Alicia Vikander the film focuses on the lives of married couple Einar Wegener & Gerda Wegener and Einar’s increasing adamance that he is a woman trapped in a mans body.
Almost exactly a year to the day when I saw ‘The Theory of Everything’, the film to earn Redmayne his first Oscar he returns to the screen in an equally as challenging role. Once more he is utterly transformative in this part, I was worried that I’d only be able to see him as Stephen Hawking but this was never the case. He is so convincing as both Einar and Lili, the female part of himself, and he portrays the struggle that this character experiences flawlessly. He should definitely repeat his Oscar success with at least a nomination and most likely a win too. Acting alongside him is 2015 breakthrough actress, Alicia Vikander , who starred in my favourite film of last year, ‘Ex Machina’. Vikander had a wonderful year in 2015 playing a wide range of roles however it is her portrayal of Gerda Wegener that becomes her most accomplished role to date. She plays this very complex role incredibly well and is equally as transformative as Redmayne potentially taking the limelight on several occasions. The pair have a fantastic chemistry on screen and their performances are essential to the success of this film. There is also support from Ben Whishaw and Matthias Schoenaerts in smaller roles who both deliver good performances.
An area of film-making that I should probably take more notice of is hair, make-up and costume design. However, ‘The Danish Girl’ doesn’t let this area go unnoticed with especially the make-up being incredibly impressive. Once again I would expect some Oscar love for these areas as the team behind this have done a great job. So the film has the cast and it looks the part, what about the story? Well the film is paced very well and it was always fascinating to watch how characters reacted to certain changes or situations, largely due to the performances. However, I’ll admit that I couldn’t completely connect with the emotion of the film just due to the lack of exposure to such themes before. What ‘The Danish Girl’ will do though is raise awareness about an issue that a lot of people are probably uneducated in. Also in doing this it provides much potential for discussion and debate which is one thing I love a film to be able to do. There were a few other minor flaws I found in the film, there were a few moments later in the film when the narrative wasn’t completely clear and at times the score is a little over indulgent making quite ordinary scenes incredibly over-dramatic, although as a result these scenes do hold quite a bit of impact.
‘The Danish Girl’ is no doubt an important film and one that many will enjoy. Personally it just wasn’t to my taste and I can’t imagine that I will ever watch it again. However that doesn’t mean that I was entertained for the running time of the film. With fantastic performances, a good pace and an uncommon subject matter the film was interesting and I can certainly see it excelling during this years awards season.
Rating – 8/10
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