Thursday, January 7

The Danish Girl

After Eddie Redmayne wowed critics in his award-winning turn last year, everyone was tuning in for his next project. It finds him in The Danish Girl, where he played Einar Wegener, a painter who realizes and unearths his true being in the form of Lili. This revelation plays a big part in his relationship with his wife, played by Alicia Vikander, and how it affects her.

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. 

I liked Redmayne in The Theory of Everything, particularly on how he owned his character. For his take on Einer/Lili, while he does manage to shift from one character to the next and making his other persona disappear, he didn’t seem to own either of the characters. His performance was restrained despite the plethora of emotions demanded from his character. 

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. 


Cast: Eddie Redmayne, Alicia Vikander, Amber Heard
Director: Tom Hooper
Year: 2015

8 comments:

  1. Great review. I feel about the same, the film had some elements I really enjoyed but it just wasn't that great. Now that I think about it more, I was very generous with a B- minus grade. I agree 100% with your last paragraph. I wish they would've elaborated more on that. We have no idea what Lili's preference was, and I would think that would be a big deal if it changed.

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    1. Character development was crucial in this film because it's a character study. It's hard to understand a character's perspective if you're given almost nothing to work with.

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  2. Excellent review. I'm afraid that despite the great performances, I'm going to skip this one.

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    1. You're not really missing much. They were good, but their performances were so limited that they didn't get to explore much of their characters. In a few years' time, the work here would be forgettable.

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  3. Very nice review! I haven't seen The Danish Girl yet but the feelings seem to be the same. It's a shame 'cause the trailer looked promising.

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    1. I thought this would be good - it's Oscar bait - but was disappointed on how it turned out.

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  4. Sadly this one just didnt work for me. Felt too dull and life-less and tried way too hard to get my attention by the supposedly weighty subject matter. Couldnt care enough about Redmayne's character or his performance although I did think Vikander was quite good in this

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    1. I think this could have been presented differently; the source itself had some controversies.

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