Complete character transcendence is a rare, rare phenomenon and Eddie Redmayne is the Master of it. Time and again, he has played characters that overwhelm you and make you gasp in utter disbelief that the person being played in front of you is not a ‘Truman show’ but an actor playing someone else. We have seen actors both male and female, playing biographical roles by studying the subject in question but assimilating in the very soul of that alternate persona is what elevates Redmayne from the rest.
The Danish Girl is the pseudo-biography of an artist couple living in Denmark. Einar Wegener, played by Redmayne, is quite popular among the gentry while his wife Gerda Wegener, played by Alicia Vikander, struggles to get her work noticed. One evening Gerda asks her husband to pose for her as her model could not make it and she was already behind in schedule. She dresses him up in stockings and a dress, making him sit in a particularly gracious pose as she finishes her painting. In this moment of fleeting poetry, a hidden facet of his personality touches the surface. This subtle metamorphosis is precisely depicted by Redmayne as he glides his fingers on the dress and discovers this complicated sensation that he had never before experienced. As he gradually discovers himself, he becomes increasingly distressed having to pretend to be a masculine entity in his clothes and in his mannerisms. Through and through, Gerda starts to notice these changes in her husband and confusion sets into their relationship. Gradually she accepts her husband’s predicament but sees it as some malady which can be cured through medical counsel which was the general reaction of people towards transgenders in the 1920s even though Denmark at that time had quite a progressive society. But, as she begins to understand him in his true form she holds his hand through his journey to come to terms with his transformation. Vikander gives a measured performance as the wife of a husband who finds himself as a woman trapped inside a man’s body. Her confusion and desperation as she sees herself losing her husband, is palpable and is clearly extended to the audience.
The cinematography has been breathtakingly applied by Danny Cohen through bold strokes of colour providing a painting-like visage to the scenes which makes it all the more convincing as the audience gets to view the world as the artists see it. Symmetry has been given a lot of priority in the scenes besides the colour profiles. Cohen, who has worked with Hooper on The King’s Speech and Les Miserables as well has defined the story-telling experience and made it more immersive through the accurate usage of hues and touches.
Tom Hooper shows exquisite vision casting Redmayne for this exceedingly challenging role. Although Jared Leto had set the bar high through his portrayal of a transgender in Dallas Buyer’s Club, Redmayne takes it to yet another level through his class-act ! The Danish Girl is not only about the struggle and stigma of Transgenders in our society but also about the strength to be one’s own self against all odds. Hooper’s protagonists have a pattern of struggling through self-discovery even though they hold positions of reputation and respect in society, and risk losing it all. The King’s Speech and The Danish Girl are inspiring masterpieces, each in their own right and will be remembered in film history as classics.
Possible Oscar mentions:
Best actor in a lead role Male: Words fail us in trying to do justice to Redmayne’s act in this film. His unparalleled character portrayal will remain unmatched for a considerable amount of time to come. The immensely complicated persona added to emulating every little nuance of womanhood into one’s self, was executed effortlessly. Redmayne continues to exceed our expectations in every film he undertakes, magnifying the value of the undertaking unfathomably. We have never been more sure of any other nominee in their respective category than this one. Sorry Leo, not this time !
Best Picture: The Danish Girl has every ingredient to be a winner in this category. A profoundly relevant script, mesmerising screenplay and amazing performances overall. We might have two biographies in the race this time, another being Steve Jobs, but watching both of them The Danish Girl is much deeper in its treatment of this sensitive concept that many of us still don’t and maybe never can fully understand.
Best Director: Hooper has grown to be a master story-teller from The King’s Speech to the screen adaptation of Les Miserables and to The Danish Girl. His vision in identifying stories and characters has delivered unto us some of the most unforgettable on-screen performances. In just a few years, Hooper has made his place permanently on our list of Master Directors. It won’t be a surprise if an Oscar finds him yet again.
Best Cinematography: With the artistic touch of bold textures and eye-grabbing visuals, The Danish Girl has some of the most beautiful camera-work we have seen recently. Redmayne has been presented beautifully in his alternate persona, creating a brand new individual Lili, who is different from Einar in all respects but definitely came from him. They are both part of the same person as was aptly quoted by his old friend – “There are a handful of people I love in this world and you are two of them.”
gobblpoint: Watch it for the once-in-a-lifetime performance by Redmayne and one of the most inspiring stories of our age.
Disclaimer: The image used in this blog is the sole property of the makers of this film and is not owned by us in any form whatsoever.