My quest to see all the nominated movies continues with "The Danish Girl." It's well documented here on Pop.Bop.Shop. that Eddie Redmayne is my #1 celebrity crush. I've written about him nine times. Given my devotion, there was no question that I would support him and make sure to see his latest film.
*SPOILER ALERT! Do not read on if you do not want to know anything about this movie.*
"The Danish Girl" is the story of one of this first people in the world to be identified as transgender. Born a man, Einar Wegener lives in Copenhagen, Denmark with is wife, Gerda. They are both painters. In one of the very first scenes of the movie, Gerda asks Einar to sit for her as she tries to finish a painting of a ballerina. She asks Einar to wear the stockings and the shoes to give her the best chance of making the portrait accurate. She also asks him to hold the dress (with tutu) up to his body so that she can get the complete look. When the dress is pressed against his body, it's as if time stands still. He slowly runs his fingers over the fabric and begins to get a look on his face as if he's allowing himself to feel total euphoria.
A few days later, Gerda gets the idea that Einar should attend a gala with her, but dressed as a woman. They go to a local theater, dress him and head off to the event. During the course of the evening, Einar settles into his new persona, Lili, and discovers he not only likes it, he loves it. He feels more at home as Lili than he ever does as Einar.
From that gala scene on, the film tracks the lives of Einar and Gerda as Einar decides to spend his days as Lili. Not only does he dress as a woman, he pays to go to brothels just so he can watch the women dancing and learn to mimic their feminine movements.
Eventually, after seeing countless doctors, Einar meets one particular surgeon who believes he's discovered a sincere condition amongst men and women who feel they've been born into the wrong bodies. Please keep in mind, this is the 1920s. He offers to help Einar have reassignment surgery.
I don't want to spoil any more of the plot so I'll stop there.
I want to say that both Eddie Redmayne and Alicia Vikander (the actress who plays Gerda) more than earned their nominations for the Golden Globe this Sunday. They both gave incredible, committed performances.
For Eddie, this is the second film in a row where he has taken on a physically challenging role. Last year he contorted his entire body to play Stephen Hawking in "The Theory of Everything." In this role, he had to turn himself over completely to the spirit of Lili. He wore make up, he zipped into ball gowns and proudly strutted in heels. He also agreed to a very vulnerable scene that involves full frontal nudity.
Alicia Vikander, who plays Gerda, is about to put her name on the map. Her performance as Einar's fiercely devoted wife, even when doctors wanted to lock him up and zap his feelings away, is incredibly moving. Gerda loves Einar with every fiber of her being and though she is constantly hurt and confused, refuses to leave his side.
In addition to the stellar performances, "The Danish Girl" is also a visually gorgeous movie. It takes place between Copenhagen and Paris. The landscapes of both cities are depicted so beautifully.
The costumes, in true 20s style, are also exquisite. Even the paintings created by Einar and Gerda are stunning.
I admit, I didn't know very much about the plot of "The Danish Girl" before seeing it, so I was surprised when I found myself profoundly sad. The movie is heavy. I would highly recommend putting some tissues into your bag or coat pocket.
Tune in this Sunday, January 10th, to the Golden Globes to see if Alicia and Eddie take home the trophies. Eddie's birthday was yesterday. Wouldn't a Golden Globe be a lovely gift?