Eddie Redmayne gives a heartbreaking performance that carries award-potential in “The Danish Girl,” shown at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival and superbly directed by Tom Hooper from an emotionally affecting screenplay by Lucinda Coxon based on a fact inspired novel by David Ebershoff. Redmayne plays Einar/Lili, among the first to undergo transgender surgery.
The time is the 1920s, the scene Copenhagen. Einar amd Gerda (Alicia Vikander) are an artist couple, he more successful with his landscapes, she trying to impress with doing portraits. Gerda asks her husband to pose in women’s clothes as a stand-in for a female model. The experience not only captivates Einar, but unleashes his true feelings of conflict about his identity.
As Gerda begins to gain success using him as her model, Redmayne is terrific in easing increasingly into femininity. His speech, gestures and body movement combine to morph him into Lili, more and more his persona as a woman.
As could be expected, this puts a strain on the marriage, and as loyal and understanding as Gerda is, she also needs a normal married life with the sex this would entail. Vikander gives a magnificent performance as this loyal but tormented wife, also award-worthy acting.
The film grows more intricate as the painful sexual duality makes Lili want to complete the transformation, which can only be achieved by means of an operation, then a dangerously new procedure.
When the drama reaches this point, you may be so invested in the outcome as a result of the deeply human and credible performances, that you may feel an emotional share in hope for success. Such is the power of “The Danish Girl.” Posted October 4, 2015.