★★★★ – “Remarkable, but no masterpiece.”
The Danish Girl is directed by Tom Hooper and stars Academy Award Winner Eddie Redmayne, Alicia Vikander, Ben Whishaw and Matthias Schoenaerts.
Loosely inspired by Danish artists Gerda Wegener and Lili Elbe, The Danish Girl explores the marriage of Lili & Gerda as they experience Lili’s ambitious journey as a transgender pioneer.
Eddie Redmayne returns to the screen with admirable strength and skill, with such a diverse character to play. He is as convincing as Lili Elbe as he was Stephen Hawking. With his incredible portrayal in The Theory Of Everything, capturing everyone and gaining major attention from critics and the Academy, Redmayne is an actor who has stepped into the spotlight for filmmakers. And respectfully so. His portrayal of Lili in this film is remarkable, well handled and instantly worthy of the recognition. He gives off an electrifying performance and very emotionally attaches himself to the personality of this character. A truly brilliant performance. Alicia Vikander is magnetic as Gerda, she just clicks. Again, a very emotional performance throughout. I do believe she deserves more attention from the critics than she’s getting at the moment. These are two of the four outstanding factors of this film.
The third is the music by Alexandre Desplat. Absolutely beautiful piano melodies and string motifs as usual. He always writes with impeccable focus on the visuals and the touching performances on-screen. This is yet another score by Desplat that I will be happily purchasing.
The final pillar holding this film up is the visuals. The camera work is stunningly supportive of the story and screenplay. Slow, intimate and colourful.
Apart from these four points, I couldn’t really attach myself to the film or its story. I felt it outstayed it’s welcome after the 90 minute mark. If it were shorter by around 20-30 minutes I believe it would have flowed easier with less moments that felt out of place or less meaningful. Which is a bit sad when this is a story about such a compelling and controversial subject. It was handled with love and care but I didn’t find myself feeling enthralled by anything particular. Don’t get me wrong, it’s very nicely written. But I wasn’t deeply engaged as much as I should have been. It’s a shame. I do, however, believe that it’s a film that should be seen by everyone, and discussed beyond the award ceremonies.
My verdict; The Danish Girl is a piece of art in itself for its wonderful visuals, music and performances by Redmayne and Vikander. If a little more care and attention was applied then this could have been a modern masterpiece. But don’t let that turn you away, there’s still something deeply planted in this film.
“I think Lily’s thoughts, I dream her dreams. She was always there.”
The Danish Girl – ★★★★ (7/10)