Eddie Redmayne has become hot property since his Oscar win for playing Stephen Hawking in 2014’s The Theory of Everything. The actor is currently filming for the cinematic adaptation of J.K.Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them but before that, he could well find himself in contention for another slew of awards.
The Danish Girl, to be released in select U.S cinemas this November, sees Redmayne reuniting with Les Misérables director Tom Hooper (who also won an Oscar for directing The King’s Speech) to bring the story of Lili Elbe to the big screen. Based on David Ebershoff’s 2000 book of the same name, Redmayne stars as Elbe, the first known person to undergo gender reassignment surgery in the 1920’s. Following the first trailer release, the second trailer for the movie has dropped online. Watch it, above.
Elbe was born as Einar Wegener and worked as an artist, finding love and marrying fellow artist Gerda Gottlieb (Alicia Verkander, The Man From U.N.C.L.E.). However, she soon came to realize she identified as female and not male, and sought reassignment surgery to enable her to live life completely as a woman. As suggested from the trailer,though, she didn’t find it easy, Gottlieb stood by Elbe - and when Elbe fearfully tells her wife “They want to lock me up,” Gottlieb soon confronts the doctor about it.
Though Elbe’s surgery took place at a time when it was still a taboo subject, the sense of liberation she feels after the operations have taken place is clearly and effortlessly showcased by Redmayne in this trailer. Director Hooper has already come under fire, as one might expect, for not hiring a transgender actress for the role, but Redmayne does appear to be successful in his sensitive and tactful portrayal of Elbe. Meanwhile, Verkander is very watchable indeed; easily playing the part of a wife devoted to the person she is hopelessly in love with.
Early reviews of The Danish Girl from the 2015 Venice Film Festival praised Redmayne’s performance, though some were critical of the relatively simplistic storyline. Taking all criticisms into account (and let’s face it, any film dealing with such sensitive issues is bound to attract more than its fair share of complaints), The Danish Girl is still doing its bit to raise awareness of transgender issues. In a time where these issues are more in the mainstream spotlight than ever before, if this movie highlights that for even a few people, it surely will have done its job?
The argument about whether a transgender actress should have been used will rage on, as will the debate over whether the storyline was handled with the tact and sensitivity it needed, or whether Hollywood sensationalism played a part. However, ultimately, Lili Elbe’s story is one that has now been told on paper and on screen, and deservedly so.
The Danish Girl will be released in select U.S. theaters on November 27th, 2015.
Source: Focus Features
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