Transgender role: The Danish Girl

Published: September 2, 2015

Transgender role: The Danish Girl, Oh, Oscar season! You are a time of heartbreak! We recently brought you the trailer for Carol, a smoldering story of taboo love between two women in mid-century Manhattan, and now we bring you The Danish Girl. Based on the book of the same name by David Ebershoff, The Danish Girl is a fictionalized account of the real life of Lili Elbe, one of the first people to undergo gender confirmation surgery, and we have been anticipating its release since that striking photo of Eddie Redmayne as Elbe started circulating back in February.

Elbe was born Einar Magnus Andreas Wegener, and before transitioning lived well as a famous artist with her wife, another famous artist named Gerda Gottlieb (Alicia Vikander). As we see in the trailer, Gottlieb accidentally causes Wegener to realize her true self by having the artist pose for a portrait. (Apparently, the original model just never showed up.) From that moment, as we see, their partnership is tested in ways neither of them could have anticipated.

If you’re operating under the illusion this movie isn’t going to wreck you emotionally then you’re a monster. Both the subject matter and the performers could not be more timely. Entertainment Weekly heralded “America’s Transformation” in its recent LGBT issue, with Laverne Cox as Lady Liberty on the cover. And over in Hollywoodland, Redmayne is the fresh and freckled Best Actor Oscar holder while Vikander is simply smashing 2015. She stole one of the year’s best movies (Ex Machina), starred in one of its sexiest (The Man From U.N.C.L.E.), and got rave reviews in the art house scene (Testament of Youth). Redmayne looks perfectly delicate and fearlessly prepared for the challenge of playing Elbe, and Vikander is in full Academy Award mode with all those strong-vulnerability tears streaming down her face. Oh, and Amber Heard is here! With a real role! Director Tom Hooper came at our emotions hard with The King’s Speech and Les Misérables and he’s back for all our hearts with The Danish Girl.

Pause at: 0:36. The lovely couple. Appreciate Lili at 1:01. Oscar clip at 1:18. Heart death at 1:41 and 1:51.

Essential Quote: “I think Lili’s thoughts. I dream her dreams. She was always there.”—Lili Elbe (Redmayne)

Transgender role: The Danish Girl


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