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The Danish Girl

The Danish Girl

Großbritannien/USA 2015 - with Eddie Redmayne, Alicia Vikander, Amber Heard, Matthias Schoenaerts ...

The Frankfurt-Tipp rating:

Movie info

Original title:The Danish Girl
Direction:Tom Hooper
Cinema release:07.01.2016
Production country:Großbritannien/USA 2015
Running time:Approx. 119 min.
Rated:From 12 years

Copenhagen in the 1920s: Einar Wegener (Eddie Redmayne) and his wife Gerda (Alicia Vikander) live a content, happy life as an artist couple. Einar has achieved a certain popularity through his landscape painting, which has so far eluded Gerda with her portraits. This changes when Gerda urgently needs to deliver an unfinished portrait and she asks Einar to step in as a model. At first he is reluctant to pose in a dress for his wife. But not only does the picture meet with enthusiasm from the buyer. Einar also becomes more and more interested in transforming himself into Lili. For Gerda this is an amusing game at first. But slowly she realises that there is more to it than that for Einar. He has found his true self in Lili and wants to live as a woman from now on. In more tolerant Paris, Gerda and Lili want to try this together. But although Gerda's career soars to unimagined heights here, the love between the two threatens to break apart because of Einar's new life as Lili - until Lili makes a drastic decision.

With The Danish Girl, director Tom Hooper once again turns his attention to historical material after The King's Speech. Based on true events, he tells the story of Lili Elbe and her difficult journey as a transgender woman. Even if today, at least from a medical point of view, it is no longer too much of a problem to give a person who feels born in the wrong body the gender he or she desires, tolerance towards transgender people still stands on rather shaky ground. So it's not hard to imagine the hostility a transgender woman like Lili Elbe faced nearly a hundred years ago, and the courage (as well as desperation) it took to decide to undergo an operation as dangerous as a sex change.

Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne plays the artist born in the wrong body, with all her brokenness, really magnificently. Thanks to his very sensitive acting, you clearly notice at the beginning how much Einar blossoms when he is allowed to transform into Lili and how unhappy he is that this is just a role he has to shed for the outside world as well. Redmanye traces the path to Lili becoming not just a role but his true identity very credibly. He doesn't put on a travesty show here, but portrays a person who hopes to find the inner peace as a woman that is denied her as a man.

Hooper could have focused entirely on Lili in the film adaptation of David Ebershoff's best-selling book of the same name. It would have been easy to rely on the impact Redmayne's performance makes. This would have certainly made the film interesting, but nowhere near as watchable or emotional as it ultimately is. This is due to the fact that Gerda is actually the focus of the story. She is an extremely compelling character: a woman torn between sacrificial love and grief over losing the love of her life. She is tolerant and admires Lili's courage, wishing for all the happiness in the world for her, even if that means letting her Einar go. Alicia Vikander plays this role absolutely brilliantly, avoiding being completely upstaged by Eddie Redmayne. Sure, Redmayne's performance draws more attention. But in terms of intensity and conviction, Vikander is in no way inferior to him here - on the contrary.

It is precisely because Hooper tells not only Lili's story, but also Gerda's, that The Danish Girl becomes a very layered and moving work. The very atmospheric set, the good supporting cast and the beautiful score also contribute to a very positive overall impression. However, despite all the praise, it has to be noted that there are some scenes that are implemented a bit too worn, resulting in minor lengths. Moreover, here and there the film runs the risk of becoming a bit campy despite all its sensitivity. If you want to see a quiet character study, a very moving love story and an atmospherically equipped artist drama, you will get your money's worth despite some small deductions in the B grade. And that's why the bottom line is a very clear: Worth seeing!

An article by Frankfurt-Tipp


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Cinema trailer for the movie "The Danish Girl (Großbritannien/USA 2015)"
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