The Danish Girl (2016) Review.

Directed by Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech, Les Misérables), starring Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything, My Week With Marilyn) and Alicia Vikander (Testament of Youth, Ex Machina). The Danish Girl, is loosely based on the relationship between the danish artists Lili Elbe and Gerda Wegener as well as Lili’s journey in discovering her gender identity and eventually becoming one of the first transgender women to have sex reassignment surgery.


I’ll be honest, I didn’t really enjoy this film. It felt lazy in many of the ways it depicted Lili’s body dysmorphia, ticking every on-screen transgender cliché in the book. (Shots of Lili examining herself in the mirror, hiding female clothes under male etc) It was incredibly cringe-worthy in places, with cheesy dialogue. “You’re different from most girls” remarks a suitor the first time Lili goes out in public, she replies with a simpering smile “That’s not a very original line”. Lili’s character felt underdeveloped, and her character lacked complexity and depth beyond her gender identity.

Performance wise, Alicia Vikander’s performance carried this film as Lili’s wife. Eddie Redmayne however, is over the top and almost caricature like. Aspects of the film I did enjoy included the beautiful array of costumes designed by Paco Delgado and the chemistry between Vikander and Redmayne in the earlier scenes.

Overall, The Danish Girl lacked subtlety and depth and I was disappointed with it.


Author: emilysteelefilm

Filmmaker, Writer, Feminist.

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