Reviews Around The World : The Danish Girl
It’s a year after Eddie Redmayne proved his incredible capacity for reinvention in The Theory of Everything, the freckle faced Brit pulls off the ultimate identity overhaul as The Danish Girl, portraying gender reassignment trail blazer Lili Elbe, nee Einar Wegener, who was one of the first to make a “sex change” via surgery. For an actor, there can be few more enticing or challenging roles than this in which the nature of identity, performance and transformation are all wrapped up in the very fabric of the character itself and Redmayne gives the greatest performance of his career so far, infinitely more intimate — and far less technical — than the already stunning turn as Stephen Hawking that so recently won him the Oscar. Reuniting with Les Miserables director Tom Hooper in a return to the handsome, mostly interior style of the helmer’s Oscar-winning The King’s Speech, Redmayne finds himself at the heart — one shared by Alicia Vikander, as Einar’s wife, Gerda — of what’s destined to be the year’s most talked - about arthouse phenomenon.
Though set nearly a century ago, between the years 1926 and 1931, it has taken this long for the subject to receive such a high - profile treatment, and though some might say argue it comes as too little too late, the pic’s release could hardly be timelier in the wake of so many recent headlines — especially the legalization of gay marriage and Caitlyn Jenner’s high - profile gender transition. As it happens, The Danish Girl has been in the works since the publication of David Ebershoff’s novel 15 years ago, with Nicole Kidman originally attached to play Lili for director Lasse Hallstrom.
Though his first attempt at makeup looks rather grotesque, he becomes quite the pro (with an assist from actual pro Jan Sewell, who also designed the star’s prosthetics in “The Theory of Everything”), upstaging the other women whenever he goes out in public. At first, the goal is simply to pass — a game, almost — but in time, the butterfly motif becomes clear.