Review: The Danish Girl


thedanishgirlTitle: The Danish Girl
MPAA Rating: R
Director: Tom Hooper
Starring: Eddie Redmayne, Alicia Vikander, Amber Heard
Runtime: 1 hr 59 mins

What It Is: Telling the story of artists Einar (Redmayne) and Gerda (Vikander) Wegener in 1926 Copenhagen, Denmark. This tale tells of Einar’s journey to become the person he believes he was meant to be. That person, a woman named Lily Elbe causes all manner of issues for him in pre-World War II Denmark. All this came about accidently one day when Gerda had Einar model some shoes in the absence of her normal model Ulla (Heard). Finding Lily an interesting subject Gerda begins to paint this Danish girl and her art career takes off. All this as her husband break ground for the LGBT community by being the first person to navigate the transgender waters.

What We Think: This is a beautiful story, beautifully fumbled. Hooper seems almost disgusted at his subject matter. Often the camera feels like a peeping Tom (see what I did there) rather than a tool needed to tell a story. We should feel like flies on the wall, not subjects looking at a science experiment. Alicia Vikander steals the movie from Redmayne. I don’t know why he’s getting so much play on the awards circuit his performance isn’t great. Amber Heard surprised me with the stretch of her acting abilities here. For a screenwriting perspective, it isn’t spectacular and the adaptation of its source material seems rushed and empty. Just because you play an interesting and important character doesn’t mean you deserve the accolade. If so, where’s Jim Caviezel’s nomination for The Passion of the Christ? Oh, that’s right that isn’t how this works.

Our Grade: D+,  I’m sure somewhere, in some time Tom Hooper can be a director who doesn’t just point a camera at interesting characters in flat lighting until then I’ll still consider him pretty overrated. He often needs his characters to carry his “direction” and unlike Les Miserables Redmayne sort of lets him down. King’s Speech is basically carried by such performances. If you’re going in expecting a gorgeous period drama about a very, very important person, particularly in the LGBT community you’ll get that. If you want an interesting narrative you will unfortunately, be disappointed.

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