The Danish Girl (2015)

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The Dane Event

Director: Tom Hooper
Running Time: 119 Minutes
Starring: Eddie Redmayne, Alicia Vikander, Matthias Schoenaerts, Ben Whishaw, Amber Heard

The latest release from Tom Hooper is brought to life through sumptuous cinematography, almost as though the actors have stepped into real paintings. Despite this terrific element, it's inescapable how the film feels like a desperate bid to win another Oscar.

Copenhagen, 1926. Gerda Wegener (Alicia Vikander) paints her husband Einar Wegener (Eddie Redmayne) as a lady, complete with the attire. This act unmasks a lifelong identification as a woman, giving Einar the courage to become Lili, and attempt the the first male to female gender reassignment surgery.

Eddie Redmayne has proven himself as a talented actor many times over, especially in 2014's The Theory of Everything. All of which makes it a true shame how one-note a performance is given here. His portrayal as Lili (named that as a joke, of course) is an exaggerated one, overly nervous and often dull as dishwater. It can be assumed his Oscar nomination is due to a combination of making crying faces, acting sickly and cross dressing.

Alicia Vikander fares better, doing well in embodying a person who's struggling to understand what their partner is going through. It's unfortunate her portrayal goes into an unsympathetic character, who feels more like somebody included for Redmayne to act off. The rest of the cast do well, but fail to leave an impression,

It's clear Tom Hooper went into this film with the best of intentions, to craft a film to help cisgender people understand the plight of transgender people. It's understandable why the film was made into less of a portrait on one figure, as it allows the focus to cast a wider net over the trans community. It's just unfortunate how the story's told in such a dull and forgettable manner, where the attempts at emotion fail to hit their mark.

There's a stubborn refusal to give breathing space in-between the important moments, as the pace hurries through the finale in order to reach the ending. The final shot is a hilariously bad attempt to deliver something deep and meaningful, with the result failing to reach it's intended targets.

The Danish Girl is a well intentioned drama that unfortunately comes off as a desperate plea for Oscar recognition, only more dull and forgettable. It's saddening when Eddie Redmayne delivers a performance that's less preferable to that he gave in Jupiter Ascending.

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