“The Danish Girl” is Tom Hooper’s latest film, which among other things deals with transsexuality, a theme that is often overlooked or intentionally avoided in fear of not representing it in an appropriate way. Nonetheless, Hooper managed to treat it in a very delicate way, respecting it while not making it the only theme of the film, which unfortunately is what happens quite often in queer films directed by non-LGBT filmmakers. “The Danish Girl” is not a film about transsexuality, but rather a love story and a quest for self-realisation, in which the protagonist discovers she was born in a body which does not fit her. The way in which the theme is presented prevents the audience from asking themselves how society might react to Lili’s decision, and encourages them to focus on what is going on in the protagonist’s mind. The result is a beautiful and moving film, which does not move too far away from the true story that inspired it.
Eddie Redmayne – whose casting has been criticised because of him being cisgender – manages to capture his character’s pure essence and to condense it in an impressive acting performance, which is genuine and steers away from any stereotype. Maybe even more impressive is Alicia Vikander’s performance, as she seems to have an innate ability to make the audience forget that what they’re seeing is not real. The genuineness of her expressions is evident right from the start, and becomes even more intense towards the end.
The visual aspect of the movie is also noteworthy: the opaque look caused by the interesting colour palette, full of soft pastel colours, mirrors the relaxed atmosphere the film tries to convey.
Nevertheless, this film is not perfect: close-ups are a bit overused – a mistake that was even more noticeable in Hooper’s previous film “Les Misérables” – and too often limit the scene to a small area of the scene. It’s also hard to understand why it was decided to keep Gerda and Lili together until the end, in spite of the many problems that arise throughout the film and of the latter’s obvious lack of interest for the former. This does not reflect what really happened and is quite unrealistic, especially considering the risks Gerda would have faced staying with Lili in a transphobic society.
However, “The Danish Girl” remains a good – yet flawed – film, with a good narrative and a visually stunning cinematography. Hopefully the delicacy with which an LGBT-related theme is treated will serve as an example for queer films, showing that it is possible to hide this topic inside a complex story with multiple meanings.