Film Review: The Danish Girl

“I Think Lily’s Thoughts, I Dream Her Dreams. She Was Always There…”

Beginning with The King’s Speech and continuing with Les Miserables, director Tom Hooper has now gained the rather envious typecast of being a filmmaker who is infatuated with the award season and the ultimate array of glory and praise that follows it at every turn. Add into the mix last year’s Oscar winner for Best Actor, Eddie Redmayne, and a story focusing on the tragedy of love, desire and ultimately, human identity, it would be easy to assume that The Danish Girl would be another success story for Hooper at this year’s incoming award season yet the reality is, superb acting aside, Hooper’s latest is unfortunately a rather plodding, shallow and cold adaptation of David Ebershoff’s 2000 novel of the same name which focuses upon the life of Danish painters Lili Elbe and Gerda Wegener and the struggle of the former’s attempt at gender reassignment surgery, one of the first recorded persons to have done so back in the mid-1920’s.

It’s hard to examine The Danish Girl as anything other than a rather disappointing experience, with the hype of a emotional, compelling drama led by the brilliance of both Eddie Redmayne and Alicia Vikander being completely overshadowed by the lack of distinct emotion within the plot resulting in there neither being a sense of sympathy or empathy for the character of Lili/Einar even when played flawlessly by Eddie Redmayne. It is certainly strange for the pedigree of an actor such as Redmayne to convey a character so well on-screen yet still failing at any attempt to convert similar emotions onto the viewer, showing that perhaps the weak script is the central problem is failing to resonate any true feelings towards the film. Furthermore, the film’s central performance arguably is not from Redmayne himself and instead, is that of Vikander, the ambiguous, titular Danish Girl perhaps, who seems to be the easier of the two to fully embrace and understand resulting in a conflicting battle between a love for the acting and disappointment at the script.

In a roundabout sort of way, The Danish Girl is a fine example of a movie that is solely saved by the pedigree of its’ cast rather than that of it’s script and emotional impact, showing that for all its’ weaknesses, Tom Hooper’s latest will indeed carry on his proud awards success but for it’s acting alone, with The Danish Girl saved from being a forgettable, drab biographical, built only on the reputation of Hooper thanks to both Vikander and Redmayne. Oscar wins? Maybe not, but nominations is a sure thing, evident by their recognition by the Golden Globes, yet if wins were secured by either actor, it would only be remembered as a win for “that film about gender reassignment”, not the legacy I’m sure Hooper intended.

Overall Score: 5/10


Posted on 10/01/2016, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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