cinematic excellence: The Danish Girl

This year’s Oscars are to be awarded on February 28th – until then, it is all about keeping track of the nominee’s performances. One of my most highly anticipated movies that were to released last month was The Danish Girl, a true story. Not without reason is the movie nominated in four categories at the 88th Academic Awards. Eddie Redmayne (plays Einar Wegener) is nominated for best actor in a leading role, among others alongside Leonardo DiCaprio (for his role in The Revenant), and Alicia Vikander (plays Gerda Wegener) for best actress in a supporting role. Also, the movie is nominated in the categories costume design and production design. The combination of the brilliance of Eddie Redmayne and Alicia Vikander’s cinematic performances with a strongly touching story results in a heart-breaking, yet promising movie that keeps you fascinated for days.

The story takes place in 1920ies in Copenhagen, Denmark. The married couple Wegener, both painters, undergoes a drastic change in their relationship but remaining what is most important: enduring love. It all starts with Gerda painting Einar in a dress as her actual model is late. From then on, it continues with Einar wearing Gerda’s nightgown, dressing as a woman to a party and to finally making sense of who Einar really is – a woman inside, Lili Elbe, a transgender pioneer. Anne Harrison, producer, described The Danish Girl as “a story about the transcendence of love beyond gender“, which puts it just about right. But it is also so much more than that. It is about the bravery of a human who embraces his/her true self, despite the fact that it turns his/her life upside-down. It is about the strength of a woman who stands by her partner during an existential change that does affect her in so many ways, but still she manages to put back her needs and be there for her partner all the way through – never showing as much as a weakness, no matter how painful situations get for her emotionally. Gerda loses her spouse, but due to her remarkable strength and her unconditional love for the human who Einar is, Gerda transcends this love to Lili.

Eddie Redmayne did an outstanding performance portraying the grace and inner struggle of Lili with such a detailed acting that it was a pure joy and fascinating to watch. And Alicia Vikander deserves just as much credit: I am still speechless thinking of how perfectly she embodied Gerda’s character with strength and greatness. One of my friends and I discussed, if we could be just as strong and selfless when in a situation like Gerda’s. But is it really to be defined as selflessness or is it only human and the only right way to not bind love to gender and still loving someone despite any changes? What would you do?

A brilliant piece of art that I am very thankful for. If you haven’t seen it yet, it is about time – you will not regret it. A blast watching, really.

-your tiny woman in a giant world

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