Why do we go to the cinema? I go to the cinema to be entertained mainly. I love to leave the cinema thinking I could have been the protagonist, or how amazing it would be to have been the protagonist. I also love documentaries so to be educated, learn something new, is also an amazing thing.
I tell you this because, from everything I’d read or heard about The Danish Girl, I believed it was all about Danish artists Einar Wegener/Lili Elbe and Gerda Wegener. I understood it was about their lives and the pioneering decision from Einar to become Lili.
You may have also seen the video I posted recently that contained something from Director Tom Hooper saying he wanted this to be more than just a film about a man who wants to become a woman.
So imagine my disappointment to learn that the script, from writer Lucinda Coxon (Wild Target, The Heart of Me) based on the novel by David Ebershoff has actually been changed so much from the actual true story that it is all but a standalone film.
This is a shame as I was actually looking forward to learning about Einar/Lile, played by Eddie Redmayne, and the choices, decisions that were made. Also about his wife Gerda, played by Alicia Vikander, and what she goes through.
Anyone wanting to know the same will sadly be disappointed too. The story, despite Tom Hooper’s wishes, feels like the story of a man who wants to be a woman, believes he is a woman. Gerda, in the movie at least, plays his down-at-heel wife who puts up with this change, crying through most of it. Apparently in reality this isn’t true. She was an incredibly strong woman who supported Einar and in fact enjoyed the change in him having as they did an open relationship and she apparently being bi-sexual.
That said this isn’t a bad film, if you can see it as not the story about Einar and Gerda. Eddie Redmayne plays the character in his usual, throwing himself into it way, i.e. very well. It’s actually as Lile that he really shines. But for me it is Alicia Vikander who, despite not playing the real Gerda, plays the character she’s asked to play with aplomb. The two work very well together on screen.
Hooper continues to impress with his direction. He starts with the camera moving around, giving the movie a sense of fun as the husband and wife have fun together. Then, as Einar begins to become Lile, the camera becomes steady, more assured, as Lile does too.
The movie is compelling viewing, beautifully shot, fantastically acted, I just would have loved to see the true story.