In Director Tom Hooper’s (King’s Speech, Les Miserables’) latest work, The Danish Girl, Brit Eddie Redmayne and Swedish starlet, Alicia Vikander deliver tour-de-force performances as Einar and Gerda Wegener, a loving Danish couple, struggling with transgender issues that culminates in the world’s first sex reassignment surgery.
Redmayne’s performance is generating significant Oscar buzz with most pundits proclaiming it’s his best performance to date surpassing last year’s Oscar winning portrayal of Steven Hawking, in Director James Marsh’s Theory of Everything.
And not to be overlooked is Vikander’s screen steadying influence as Gerda. Gerda witnesses her husband Einar’s metamorphosis with a strength steeped in loving kindness.
Vikander’s momentum gathering acting locomotion is not going unnoticed. She’s received double nominations from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association for Best Actress for her work in The Danish Girl, and Best Supporting Actress for her work in Ex Machina, in the upcoming 2016 Golden Globes.
I saw The Danish Girl last night at the Paseo Nuevo theater in Santa Barbara. Critics are praising the film for its arthouse aesthetics and its delicate handling of “an oh so often not talked about rather taboo topic” of (until the recent emancipation of Caitlyn Jenner) – transgenderism.
In my opinion, Hooper’s work adds value to the transgender movement in attracting a more traditional audience segment with its exquisite 1920’s European mise-en-scen and its well costumed, stellar acting corps.
Eve Stewart again handles Hooper’s production design providing a familiar look and style along the lines of King’s Speech and Les Miserables’. Paco Delgado follows suits as he costumes in a fashion recognizable from his wardrobe work in Les Miserables.
In addition to Redmayne and Vikander’s immersive performances, American actress Amber Heard provides a delightful respite as Ulla from the film’s resounding seriousness while Belgian Matthias Schoenaerts provides a decidedly masculine presence as Hans Axgil during Einar metamorphosis into Lili Elbe.
Accomplished composer and Frenchman Alexandre Desplat scores The Danish Girl with a subtle nuance augmenting Hooper’s genteel helming.
The Danish Girl was adapted from American David Ebershoff’s book of the same name published in 2000. Wholeheartedly recommended.