Eddie Redmayne (Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them)
Alicia Vikander (Seventh Son)
Matthias Schoenaerts (Red Sparrow)
Ben Whishaw (Paddington)
Amber Heard (Drive Angry)
Sebastian Koch (Homeland)
Pip Torrens (The Iron Lady)
In mid-1920s Copenhagen, portrait artist Gerda Wegener asks her husband, popular landscape artist Einar Wegener, to stand in for a female model who is late to come to their flat to pose for a painting she’s working on.The act of posing as a female figure unmasks Einar’s life-long identification as a woman, who names herself Lili Elbe. This sets off a progression, first tentative and then irreversible, of leaving behind the identity as Einar, which she has struggled to maintain all her life. This takes place as both Lili and Gerda relocate to Paris; Gerda’s portraits of Lili in her feminine state attract serious attention from art dealers in a way that her previous portraiture had not. It is there that Gerda tracks down art dealer Hans Axgil, a childhood friend of Lili (whom Lili had kissed when they were young). Hans and Gerda’s mutual attraction is a challenge, as Gerda is navigating her changing relationship to Lili; but Hans’ long-time friendship with and affection for Lili cause him to be supportive of both Lili and Gerda.As Lili’s continued existence presenting as male becomes too much to bear, she starts to seek help from psychologists, but none yields any result, and, in one instance, almost leads her into being committed to an asylum. Eventually, at Hans’s recommendation, Lili and Gerda meet Dr. Kurt Warnekros. Dr. Warnekros explains that he has met several people like her, who are physically male but identify as female, and proposes a new, innovative and controversial solution: male to female sex reassignment surgery. This would entail a two-part procedure that involves first removing Lili’s external genitalia and then, after a period of recovery, fashioning a vagina. He warns Lili and Gerda that it is a very dangerous operation that has never been attempted before, and Lili would be one of the first to undergo it. Lili immediately agrees and, soon after, travels to Germany to begin the surgery.Lili eventually dies of complications from the surgery. The film ends with Gerda and Hans on a hilltop back in Denmark, in front of the five trees Lili had painted. The scarf that Lili had originally given Gerda, and that had subsequently been given back and forth several times, is carried away on the wind, dancing.Because of the subject matter in The Danish Girl I wasn’t sure this was going to be a film that I would particularly like but I need not have have worried because I thought this was a fascinating movie that justified it’s plaudits. This is the story of Danish artist Einar Wegener (Eddie Redmayne) who realised that despite being born a man he is really a woman and that woman is called Lile. Although Redmayne will quite obviously get all the praise for his role as Lile but I think the outstanding performance of this film comes from Alicia Vikander who plays his wife. As an actor she is exposed unlike Redmayne who has the make up to hide behind. Instead of being about Lile this film for me is more about the love of his wife who will do anything to make her husband happy. Even if that means losing him. in the process.