The Danish Girl

WRITTEN BY: Lucinda Coxon 
STARRING: Eddie Redmaybe, Alicia Vikander, Matthias Schoenaerts
RATING: 4 stars

Set in Copenhagen in 1926, landscape painter Einer Wegener (Eddie Redmayne) is happily married to Gerda (Alicia Vikander), who is struggling to gain popularity for her portrait paintings. One day, Gerda asks Einar to stand in for their ballerina friend Ulla (Amber Heard) as a model. But when he dons the stockings and slippers, Einer finds himself enjoying the experience more than he expected. Oblivious to the changes in her husband, Gerda starts using Einer as her muse and her paintings become a success. The couple seem to be unstoppable in art circles until Einer realises he is transgender and wants to undergo an operation to become Lili Elbe.

Adapted from David Ebershoff's novel, which is loosely based on Einer/Lili's life, The Danish Girl is an interesting story that has been twisted and abridged a little too much. The tale becomes a soap opera at times and it is not factually accurate. However, the performances by Redmayne and Vikander are so mesmerising that they elevate the film's quality tenfold and should both be Oscar contenders. Matthias Schoenaerts is also impressive as Einar's boyhood friend and early crush, who later becomes a wealthy art dealer. The Danish Girl simplifies the feelings and experiences of transgendered people, but the film is a great introduction for mainstream audiences to begin understanding transgender issues.