The Danish Girl

Very mixed opinion about this.

On the one hand, Alicia Vikander turns in yet another great performance as the wife of the eponymous Danish Girl. And it is always a pleasure to see Ben Whishaw, Matthias Schoenaerts and Sebastian Koch on screen.

And there are times when Eddie Redmayne is very good indeed. But there are other times when it’s almost like he wants you to *see* how very good he is, and at those points all I could see was the actor not the character(s).

I’m also a little concerned about the view of femininity on display. [Note – perhaps don’t read any further if you haven’t seen the film].

The initial indications the audience receives about Einar’s gender dysphoria are more fetishistic than anything else – the touch of silk or fur, running fingers over a rail of women’s delicate clothing – as if enjoying the feel of a silk scarf is enough to make any man question his gender. Redmayne is shown attempting to learn more feminine ways of moving and sitting, which ends up being a combination of simpering vogueing and copying a woman he pays to see in a peep-show striptease. Most women don’t spent their daily lives posing like burlesque performers or touching their faces with such regularity – we all know that dislodges your make up and leads to spots.

So my concerns are, I suppose, that it’s all about a man’s view of what femininity looks like, and not enough about what Einar/Lili *feels* like in her struggle to understand herself. For which I guess we have to blame the director.

Lili Elbe’s is a serious story which deserves telling, but everything seemed to focus on outward style and none of the true substance of Lili’s traumatic journey.

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