#TIFF15: “THE DANISH GIRL”
No Film at TIFF ’15 affected me greater than the latest from Oscar-winning Director, Tom Hooper. The Danish Girl is a biographical drama based on the memoir of Lili Elbe, known as one of the first recipients of gender reassignment surgery. Although much of the story centers on the build-up to the surgery, what we witness first and foremost is a heartbreaking love story between two Artists, Gerda (Alicia Vikander) and Einar (Eddie Redmayne) and the deeply-fascinating outcome of what happens when the latter comes to the realization that he is meant to be a woman. We witness Einar‘s deep torment as he is forced to suppress his female self, Lili, at the initial disapproval of his wife and society. Gradually, Einar dissipates and Lili fights to assert her place in the world. Matters are complicated further when a love triangle develops with the surfacing of Einar‘s childhood friend, Hans (Matthias Schoenaerts).
Vikander commands at every turn as she fights the urge to be angry in favour of unconditional love and support to Einar/Lili. She becomes all consumed in love to the point she loses herself much like her husband. Her performance places her front and center in the upcoming Awards Season race and we were delighted. Redmayne in a performance which somewhat echoes some sentiments in his Oscar-winning brilliance in The Theory of Everything as an all-consuming husband, is devastatingly-convincing in Einar/Lili‘s vulnerability. The Danish Girl is a Film which leaves you mesmerized and it is impossible not to leave completely fixated and pensive after the credits roll.
Above this, the cinematography by Danny Cohen, who reunites again with Hooper after Les Misérables and The King’s Speech, is awe-inspiring and in itself becomes almost like a character in the Film. An important, empathetic piece on a topic very much at the forefront of the social conscience today.