The Danish Girl (♦♦♦)
Painters Einar and Gerda Wegener have a loving marriage in 1926, Denmark. Einar is very successful as a landscape painter, while Gerda, who paints portraits, hasn't yet made her mark. When a friend bails out as a dancer model for a painting that Gerda needs to put finishing touches to, she asks Einar to wear the female dancer attire and pose for her. Only Einar rediscovers a dormant passion, triggering a chain of events that will make him become a transgender pioneer with the support of his wife.
I have been noticing Eddie Redmayne on the big screen for years, and almost always I kept wondering when would be his opportunity to shine. He was the son of Angelina and Matt Damon, an inadvertent mole, in The Good Shepherd; he was Jack in the miniseries The Pillars of the Earth, the willing boy toy in My Week with Marilyn and his breakout role was in the musical Les Misérables as Marius, Cossette's love interest. Although he won an Oscar for Best Actor for his interpretation of Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything, I wasn't overly impressed. I have seen that same performance given by more seasoned and better actors in less prominent movies (e.g., Denzel Washington in The Bone Collector, and John Hawkes in The Sessions). And now I get to see him in yet another award nominated performance in The Danish Girl opposite Alicia Vikander (Ex-Machina).
If I thought his performance was just about average in The Theory of Everything, in The Danish Girl, Eddie Redmayne is nothing short of brilliant, and I must say that he becomes a beautiful woman as well. The mannerisms, the sensuality in the everyday things that make us women and we take for granted, he imitates and effectively adopts in his role as Lily. I wholeheartedly agree with his Oscar nomination. As Einar Wegener/ Lily Elbe, Redmayne gives by far the best performance of his career.
Alicia Vikander ably keeps up with Redmayne, giving a performance that is vibrant and determined as Gerda, Redmayne's fictional wife. If in Ex-Machina, she was deceptively innocent and scheming as Ava, as Gerda, she has proved that she can perform well a variety of roles.