The film focuses heavily on the relationship and the shifting dynamic between husband and wife – particularly when Einar has begun to shed his past and fully transforms to Lili. The challenges and reactions of both actors are splashed across the screen, but I found the film laden with inconsistencies – dialogue disputing dialogue – which made it hard for me to understand and empathize with the characters. In turn, the lack of character development needed for Einar, Lili and Gerda has limited the performances of the actors involved.
Some have been clamoring that Alicia Vikander falls under category fraud as she is campaigning for supporting. As the film progresses to its last chapters, it becomes more of Einar’s tale, relegating Gerda to a supporting role despite her initial participation in the first parts of the film. Alicia Vikander plays her role well, and with the material she was given it was hard not to make her character matter. However, her character fails to become three-dimensional, lacking character development that would have already been in place somewhere along the crucial parts of the film. It failed to show onscreen, which made Vikander’s performance suffer.
The film also has its share of controversies, but what really struck with me is how this film can be described as hetero-normative – understanding the view through the eyes of a heterosexual person. While the scenes portray the different challenges that Einar and Lili confront, the film fails to further elaborate the stance on their end. Instead it is reduced to looking at the situation through the eyes of Gerda, as well as the other supporting characters such as Hans and Ulla. It’s why I found both Redmayne and Vikander’s performances to be limiting – there were not much of the characters that is known or understood.
The film could have been trimmed to allow the film to narrow its focus. It would have helped with the better development of the characters. The story could have been remarkable. It wasn’t terrible, but it’s not memorable either.
Director: Tom Hooper