The Danish Girl
The story is adapted from the David Ebershoff novel. It’s about the first transgender person to have had sexual reassignment surgery. Imagine how problematic that would’ve been in the ’20s, with organ transplants, excisions, and not a lot of antibiotics.
Danish artist Einar Wegener (Redmayne) has great chemistry and a strong bond with his wife of six years, Gerda (Vikander). Unfortunately, things go downhill after the initial setup. Screenwriter Lucinda Coxon tiptoes around topics that should be delved into more thoroughly. And liberties were also taken with what happened to Wegener in real life. Perhaps they wanted a more mainstream picture, but with this subject matter, that’s hard to believe. So, we get a biopic that isn’t exploring the subjects the way it should and it’s artists in a paint-by-numbers picture.
The subject matter is obviously topical — with Caitlyn Jenner in the news every other day, and controversy involving transgender teens and bullying, and which bathrooms they should use at school.
I was much more entertained by the movie Transamerica (Felicity Huffman) 10 years ago.
But hey — Paris and Copenhagen were beautiful to look at.
Oh, and somebody in the film industry needs to tell directors to tone down with those annoying, overwrought scores. I would’ve preferred to have more sympathy for these characters based on what I’m seeing on screen, or hearing come out of their mouths — not the strings in the score.
I was more interested in a story another real artist told me at a dinner party in L.A. years ago. British painter Paul Whitehead was friends with a woman I was dating, and we talked about some of the album covers he had done (a Fats Domino record, and three Genesis albums). He’s also in the Guinness Book of World Records for painting the largest indoor mural on a wall at a Vegas casino. He told me once he had a gallery opening that had his paintings in one room and a female artist in the other. Nobody had heard of her, but loved the paintings. It turns out, he was the female painter. So at some point during the evening he left the gallery, made himself up to look like a woman, and came back to talk about the other set of paintings.
I thought about that story while watching this, and was wishing I had seen a movie based on Whitehead’s life instead.
That’s never a good sign when watching a film.
There’s a strong supporting cast, which includes Rachel Weisz, Amber Heard, Ben Whishaw (how many movies has that guy done this year?), and one of the most underrated actors working today — Matthias Schoenaerts.
If this movie sounds like your cup of tea, or you want to see all the Oscar nominated movies of the year, head over to the Landmark.
I’m giving it 2 stars out of 5.