In 1920’s Denmark the artists Gerda (Alicia Vikander) and Einar Wegener (Eddie Redmayne) are happily married, but when Einar has to stand in for a female model who fails to show up it awakes something he has hidden within himself for so many years. What follows is the pioneering story of how Einar Wegener transformed into Lili Elbe.
The Danish Girl had a lot of potential and a very important story at its heart. Unfortunately it mucks it up. The central idea of The Danish Girl is that Lili (whom has always been the true identity here) emerges from within Einar and essentially replaces him. However I found that Eddie Redmayne who was so fantastic at showing the transformation of Steven Hawking isn’t actually very good at all in the Danish Girl. I didn’t feel anything for the character, and I really should have. I didn’t believe any of the decisions the character made, and I didn’t see any changes or transformation. This is a real shame not only for the film but for Redmayne himself.
But the film isn’t exactly hampered by this, because it’s fairly poor all on its own. Watching the Danish Girl is just a completely joyless experience. The film is made from a script with no humour whatsoever and after two and a bit hours this takes its toll on you. For a subject matter that is frankly breath-taking and amazing it’s a horribly dull film to watch. It’s overwhelmingly grey both in colour and tone. It never gets very sad, it never gets very happy it just stays kind of grey throughout.
But The Danish Girl does have one saving grace in the form of Alicia Vikander who is outstanding. She is the emotional centre of the film and she is the character you relate to and feel for. Now the film should be portraying a two sided romance with issues on both sides. But the writing is such that you never relate to Lili at any point and only car for Gerda. Vikander deserves better than this film.
Overall, The Danish Girl was a huge disappointment for me. It had such potential, but it just falls flat. An incredibly dull film about a very important and exciting subject matter. But Vikander is spectacular.