Sunday, May 19, 2024 May 19, 2024
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Transgender Community Deserves a Film Better Than The Danish Girl

It's an unsubtle telling of a difficult experience.

I’m curious to know whether the transgender community will find The Danish Girl as insulting a presentation of their experience as I did. In director Tom Hooper’s telling, artist Einar Wegener (Eddie Redmayne) puts on a pair of stockings one day at the behest of his wife, who needs a stand-in model for a portrait she’s painting, and he suddenly realizes that he’s actually a woman. It plays like the worst nightmare of a transphobic father seeing his son perform in drag for some dumb fraternity skit.

Set in late 1920s Europe, the film wants to be a stirring, inspiring story of the love between Einar’s wife, Gerda (Alicia Vikander), and Lili Elbe, the woman who Einar says has been living inside him all along. Instead we get a series of groaningly unsubtle scenes that grind the gears in underlining, with exclamation points, the difficult emotional dynamics of Gerda and Lili’s altered relationship.