The Danish Girl (film)
May contain spoilers. At the beginning of the film,their marriage is full of intimacy. I was troubled by this abandonment of painting, as I am by any discarding of talent. It’s based on a novel by David Ebershoff, which I tried to read before the film was out, but found the narrative too restless. The attempt to provide a womb was one of her last surgeries and ultimately the one which caused her death from complications afterwards. My sister said that one of the things she liked about the film was the way it showed how difficult such a transformation is, both physically and mentally. Yes, Lili was a pioneer, but she was also a person, a very brave person who was just trying to become herself. As difficult as that process is nowadays, one can imagine how much harder it was then, not only medically, but culturally with the rigid roles of the genders. Wegener was a very successful landscape painter married to Gerda, a portrait painter. Gerda(Alicia Vikander) is the near perfect spouse, a strong, independent woman being supportive, yes, but also, as Lili emerges, emotionally adrift as she realizes she’s losing her husband. Focus Features/Universal Pictures 2015 119 minutes
Share this:TwitterFacebookPinterestEmailPrintGoogleLike this:Like Loading… The film altered a few things from their real lives, giving Gerda a happier ending and making composite characters to fill out certain storylines. There are movies which have a particular look to them, drenched in color, such as the greenish grey of The Libertine or the golden hues of The English Patient, reflecting the desert colors and worth of memories. It’s a fine tuned performance, one that could have easily gone over the top, but didn’t. Add to that the settings, staircases with Art Deco bannisters, rococo corners of Paris buildings, walls of rich colors and you have backgrounds that could compete with the actors to steal the scenes. Einar gradually transforms into Lili Elbe and eventually undergoes the dangerous operations to physically become a woman as well. The story is about Einar Wegener(Eddie Redmayne), one of the first people to undergo gender reassignment surgery, back in the late 1920’s and early ‘30’s in Europe. In that day and age, with higher risks, the toll on the human body from that type of surgery, when doctors barely knew how to go about it, must have taken tremendous courage to undergo. While most people focused on the subject matter, I was stunned by the look of the film, one of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen. Since Einar painted variations of the same landscape repeatedly, a place where he had connected deeply with a childhood friend, I understood that perhaps as Lili, the longing had been fulfilled in another way, but as an artist myself, it bothered me. And Lili didn’t want just the appearance of a woman, but to be able to give birth, what was then considered the ultimate act of womanhood. With that bright clear light of a sunny winter’s day, The Danish Girl is lit like a Vermeer painting. As Lili became more feminine, she wanted to work in a department store, rather than painting, even though Gerda was a woman and also a successful painter. Related In fact, it continues the stereotypical artist fantasy of days filled with nothing but painting and sex, with an occasional opening night party at a gallery; a lifestyle most working artists wouldn’t recognize. One of the alterations was a relationship which provided the final scene, which was perfect in it’s symbolism, but left me in tears. Other movies look like paintings come to life, like Barry Lyndon and now, The Danish Girl.
The Danish Girl (film)