The Danish Girl Blu-ray Review
I was not at all prepared for THE DANISH GIRL, an independent film that is, from beginning to end, quite lovely. Dramas, especially those featuring brilliant acting and writing, acting, art direction, cinematography… they can be so difficult to watch sometimes; I have to get myself in the mood for them, even though I love to watch movies and try to watch everything I can. I still find myself so emotionally invested as to lose myself completely within the story and while this can be greatly enjoyable in the case of a romantic comedy or a really well-made drama I can find myself emotionally drained. And yet, sometimes the story can remind me just how beautiful the human spirit can be – even if it makes me cry repeatedly.
THE DANISH GIRL stars Eddie Redmayne (THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING, 2014) as Einar Wegener/Lili Elbe and Alicia Vikander (EX MACHINA, 2015) as Gerda Wegener. This is a fictionalized love story based, somewhat loosely, on the true story and somewhat documented account (thanks to her journals, which were later published as a collected work) of Lili who was asked to write about her experience and feelings as she was in the process of undergoing one of the first sex change operations. Her journal(s) are one of the centerpieces for the modern transgender-movement and the basis for THE DANISH GIRL.
THE DANISH GIRL plays pretty loosely with the facts of the Wegener’s lives. For example, Einar Wegener was married to Gerda Wegener for 22 years before first of six operations occurred for the sex change which would ultimately result in Lili and Einar’s death, when she was 47 years old. The film only mentions they were married for six years. The love story at the center of the film also appears to be heavily fictionalized because Gerda and Einar’s marriage was apparently well-known to have been open with Gerda living as a lesbian through much of their marriage and was in another relationship at the time of Lili’s death, allegedly learning of it a decade later.
While these may be the facts I do not think they were wrong to have been changed for the purposes of this story. THE DANISH GIRL as a historical piece of narrative fiction has connection points for a broader audience and a contextual atmosphere that is established without the need for lengthy exposition. Had the writers chosen to tell the story directly from the historical context, the emotional message and contextual atmosphere might have been lost and this is one case where I can actually understand the reasoning behind changing the story for the message.
Add to that the competent filmmaking of Tom Hooper, no stranger to these types of historical (although I use the term here somewhat loosely given how contemporary this piece is) biopics with his work on THE KING’S SPEECH and ELIZABETH I, though I daresay I enjoyed Redmayne and Vikander’s performances more than the Oscar-nominated performances with his past work. Maybe partly it is the subject matter, feeling like this whole thing is just timely for the world in which we’re living, or maybe it’s just the fact that these are two fine actors giving some absolutely phenomenal performances. Either way, this one is worth the time.
Video: (1080p Widescreen 1.84:1) The picture on THE DANISH GIRL is very nicely done, immersive with a vibrant palette that is only expressed at the most apt moments in the narrative.
Audio: (English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1) The audio for THE DANISH GIRL is very nicely done as well.
The Making of THE DANISH GIRL (11:29) The only special feature on the blu-ray, it’s a bit disappointing. Too short to cover everything you maybe hoped it might have, but covering just enough that maybe you feel like it is almost, almost worth it.