The Danish Girl (2015)

8:19 AM

Find the Courage to Be Yourself
 The Danish Girl is directed by Tom Hooper (Les Miserables, The King's Speech) and stars Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything, Les Miserables) and Alicia Vikander (Ex Machina, The Man From UNCLE). "A fictitious love story loosely inspired by the lives of Danish artists Lili Elbe and Gerda Wegener. Lili and Gerda's marriage and work evolve as they navigate Lili's groundbreaking journey as a transgender pioneer". Can The Danish Girl be another big awards contender for Tom Hooper or will it be one of the most over-hyped awards films in a long time? 



The Danish Girl has definitely been overhyped - we have been talking about it since this time last year when Redmayne won his Oscar for The Theory of Everything. However, despite the film including great performances, it doesn't really have that much more going for it. I have to say, I think Tom Hooper is an overrated director in general. I really liked The King's Speech but there hasn't been a film by him since then that has overly impressed me - Les Miserables and The Danish Girl are both ok films. 

No-one can deny that The Danish Girl is incredibly acted - both Eddie Redmayne and Alicia Vikander deserve their awards praise that they are receiving. I think that Redmayne successfully transforms himself once again - looking back at this film, there are points where you forget that it is Redmayne playing a women, he gets lost in the role and you really truly believe that it is a female actress you are watching. Alicia Vikander however does steal the show for me - I was expecting her to be the usual supporting actress (like Felicity Jones in The Theory of Everything) but I thought she was so much more and very very good. I think Vikander has a better chance than Redmayne at winning the Oscar she is up for. I did think Redmayne occasionally over-acted - a lot of the film was filled with him touching his face and smiling but I think that was a creative choice - I don't think it worked that well. The rest of the supporting cast were also very good - nobody stood out for having a bad performance. Even though there aren't many things I will remember The Danish Girl for , its acting and story are some of them. 

So I just briefly mentioned that I liked the story for the film - on paper, The Danish Girl should be powerful, moving and just an incredible watch. However, in reality, it turned out quite dull and forgettable. Yes, this is an important film mainly for the subject matter but I think there are much better ways it could have been done. There was another transgender film that got shelved earlier this year which looked promising - About Ray. The Danish Girl was just very heavy and very dull. I think the story really had issues with balancing - the source material just wasn't enough for a feature length film. There could have been more time spent on Redmayne's life before he started dressing up as a woman - 5-10 minutes into the film and he was already doing this. After this, there was about 60-80 minutes of slowly watching Redmayne become more feminine with face touching and outfit changing. It wasn't until near the very end that the actual transformation occurred. I think more time could also have been spent on how transgender people were treated in the time the film was set - there was one scene but that was it. I never really developed an emotional connection for Redmayne's character as there just wasn't enough development. However, I did develop a connection to Vikander's character as I think the film was more from her perspective. The Danish Girl could have been a really powerful movie - however, I was more inspired by a film that is about the woman who created a type of mop. The tagline for your film is all about being yourself - I don't even think the film executed that very well. It was too focused on telling a story that it didn't really speak to the audience. 

The score for the film was another thing I liked - it was very classical and sophisticated. It isn't something I'd listen to in my everyday life but I think it was well suited to the film. The costume design, hair and makeup were all also very good - Redmayne is unrecognisable as Lily. 

I think people complain a lot about animated films that don't appeal to more than children - for example, Pixar films are praised as they can be watched and enjoyed by both younger and older audiences. I think a similar issue has developed with The Danish Girl - I think it can only be truly enjoyed by mature audiences. I am 17 and usually appreciate films like this but I just didn't think The Danish Girl was anything special. Unfortunately the film was a let down to me and I think that may be down to the fact it probably appeals a lot more to people over the age of 40. 

The Danish Girl should be so many good things - powerful, inspiring, moving, memorable but unfortunately I can not describe the film in this way. It is well acted, dull and slow. The Danish Girl certainly isn't a bad movie but it is seriously flawed. I think this is Hooper's weakest recent effort even if it is probably the only film he has recently done that has a subject matter that everyone is currently talking about. The Danish Girl is tasteful but I didn't really take anything away from it and I can now understand why it is not the big awards contender that everyone originally thought it would be. 

3 STARS
C+

What did you think of THE DANISH GIRL? Was it overhyped? - COMMENT BELOW

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