danishgirlThe Price Of Freedom
The Danish Girl
Stars: Eddie Redmayne, Alicia Vikander, Amber Heard, Ben Whishaw, Sebastian Koch and Mathias Schoenaerts
Director: Tom Hooper
Scriptwriter: Lucinda Coxon
Cinematography: Danny Cohen
Composer: Alexander Desplat
Focus Features
Rating R for sexual scenes, nudity and themed material
Running Length: 120 Minutes
Eddie Redmayne seems to immerse himself in his characters no matter the film. Coming from playing Stephen Hawking in “The Theory of Everything” and winning an Oscar last year, he then played a smirking villain in the science fiction film, “Jupiter Ascending” and now takes on the transgender role of Einar Wegener/Lili Elbe, in Sweden of 1926. What next, we dare ask?
Einar Wegener/Lili Elbe was a real person, and this poignant love story between Einar Wegener/Lili Elbe and his wife, Gerda, boldly played by Alicia Vikander (“Ex Machina,” and who chooses her roles well, too) is quite a display of acting ability.  Redmayne has to portray a man who begins to doubt his gender, gently slides into cross-dressing and then to surgically become a woman.  In the meantime, Gerda sees this happen, truly loves Einar Wegener/Lili Elbe and is supportive of his decisions. In 1926, this was a taboo topic and in fact, the subject was considered insanity.  Today, society has a decidedly different viewpoint, though it took nearly 80 years.
The film begins with Einar’s paintings of landscapes and he is a noted Swedish artist. Gerda is somewhat in his shadow, being a portrait painter. When she asks him to pose for her and gradually Einar’s femininity comes through, a realization for both begins. Gerda’s paintings of  Lili give her stardom in the art world, so much so, that people want to meet “Lili.“ A line was crossed and Einar moves forward. The real test is when he dresses in women’s clothing and they attend a party. Redmayne captures the feminine motions and the fear of being discovered. The level of society in which they move, allows this. What comes next is harrowing, considering the advancements in medicine now. All this to realize freedom to be what is in your heart.
The visual beauty of this film goes along with several films of 2015.  There was “Sicario” and the desert scenes, “Youth” and the Swiss Alps, “The Revenant” and a mountain wilderness and now “Danish Girl” and  creatively decorated rooms, paintings and clothing of the wealthy in the mid-1920’s. Soundtracks, also, go along with this. Not only a visual feast, but an aural one, too.
Though there are other actors in the film, including Ben Whishaw as a friend of Einar/Lili and Matthias Schoenaerts as another friend, it comes down to what happens between husband and wife. Though the film goes from Sweden to France, you are there in a hurry and the scenery looks the same. There are nude scenes.
The acting is what makes this film, and Redmayne’s angular face conveys much. The décor, clothing and parties are window dressing for acting between two actors who have to convey love, his longing for something else and her losing something that was a marriage. It is a portrait of life. Oscar may come knocking at the door again.
Copyright 2015 Marie Asner