Supporting actress outshines star in ‘The Danish Girl’

A cookie-cutter biopic that fails to capture the external effects of its events, “The Danish Girl” achieves redemption through a handful of its actors’ performances.

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A cookie-cutter biopic that fails to capture the external effects of its events, “The Danish Girl” achieves redemption through a handful of its actors’ performances.

The film, based on the fictional novel of the same name, follows painter Einar Wegener (Eddie Redmayne) through his metamorphosis into Lili Elbe, the first woman to undergo a sex-reassignment surgery.

Beginning as a game between him and his artist wife, Lili’s evolution quickly becomes a full realization of self for Einar through vague timelines and quick acceptance from the supporting characters.

The first, and most compelling, character to accept Einar’s truest sense of identity is his wife Gerda.

As the heartbroken, confused, accepting and conflicted spouse of six years, Alicia Vikander definitely gives the strongest performance of her career, and arguably the best performance of the year.

Relatively unknown before her breakout role in 2015’s “Ex Machina,” Vikander positions herself as a leading lady–despite being nominated in the supporting actress category for this year’s Oscar Awards–by carrying the film and dancing circles around previous Oscar-winner Redmayne’s acting chops.

A force to be reckoned with, Vikander will soon be opening movies just on name recognition.

Amber Heard, widely-known as the woman who married Johnny Depp, bounces back after several bad performances as Ulla, a minor yet critical character.

Aesthetically pleasing, the film’s biggest letdown comes from its lead.

Redmayne, undertaking yet another transformative role, presents the complexity of Einar/Lili on a surface level, going far enough with the role physically but just brushing the exteriors of a genuine emotional connection with the character.

Despite barely showing an emotion other than ‘bashful’ (I think that’s what he was trying to accomplish), Redmayne gives a stellar physical performance, capturing all the nuances of Lili.

The novel would have made a far more compelling movie had the roles been reversed, with Einar/Lili taking on a supporting role to Gerda’s lead, depicting the trials of cope and love through the eyes of the film’s real “Danish Girl.”

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