The world is finally starting to get more and more accepting of those who identify as transgender, gay, lesbian, and all other sexualities. Now the new film The Danish Girl will soon be out and shed a whole new light on what it means to be transgender and the struggle it was, and still is, for them to be accepted. The film stars Eddie Redmayne and Alicia Vikander as Lili and Greda Elbe. Lili Elbe was the first person to undergo gender reassignment surgery in the 1920s.
Lili, formerly Einar, was a painter who was married to Gerda and kept her sexuality a secret for years until Gerda thought it would be funny for her husband to dress up as a woman and pretend to be a relative one night at a gallery party. This was when Einar knew for certain that Lili was who he was truly meant to be. Gerda also painted Lili in several portraits that garnered a lot of fame.
Back then, those who identified as anything but heterosexual were considered insane and sick. Lili was put through all kinds of tests and treatments to try to "heal" her into being Einar again.
Most of the movie is about the relationship between Gerda and her husband as he makes his transformation. It highlights the way that Gerda felt watching someone she thought she knew turn into someone completely different and how she helped Lili along the way, even though it was difficult for her.
Eddie Redmayne did a fantastic job transforming into Lili and embracing the femininity that came with the role. A lot of actors might have turned down the role for fear of being pegged as feminine because of having to wear dresses and learn the mannerisms of a woman and therefore may not be offered "manly" roles in the future. Others argued that they should have hired a transgender person to play the role to really embrace what the film is about. I think that Redmayne was a good fit because he will bring people to the theater to see the film because he won the Oscar for Best Actor last year. Bringing in someone already with a name for himself to act as Lili will give the film more publicity for the story itself and hopefully teach more people about what it means to be transgender.
A visually stunning film, with beautiful sets and scenery, it used a lot of negative space in the frames, especially that above the actors heads. In my opinion, that symbolized the unknown and uncertainty of what would come with the journey that Lili would later embark on.
All around a fantastic film, go see The Danish Girl in theaters November 27 to be inspired by the bravery of both Lili and Gerda Elbe.