“Danish Girl” review

By Chris Mudd, Staff Writer

Eddie Redmayne is no stranger to the Academy Awards, having won best actor last year for his astounding performance as Stephen Hawking in “The Theory of Everything,” but he proved to be more than just a passing star as he struck gold for the second year in a row in “The Danish Girl.”

Redmayne plays Einar Wegener, a painter who struggles with her sexuality and gender identity. Throughout the course of the film, she transitions from a desperately struggling man to embracing her new existence as Lily.

“The Danish Girl” is obviously heavily reliant on a rather taboo subject matter, yet it seems right to address the themes and struggles of Lily’s character today. Her discovery of her sexuality and identity, and the process through which she embraces that new existence is the focus of the film. Yet it never felt preachy or convoluted, which is all too easy a trap to fall into with such intense themes. It is perhaps a testament to the excellence of not only Redmayne’s performance, but also to Tom Hooper’s astounding direction.

Hooper is also a veteran of the Oscar stage, taking Best Picture and Best Director for “The King’s Speech” in 2011. And while “The Danish Girl” never feels insincere, it does appear to be somewhat self-aware and slightly pretentious as times. Yet the sin of being what I would consider “Oscar-bait” doesn’t take away from the stopping power of the film.

In addition to the acting and directing, the score and costume design are also astounding. The film reeks of excellence in every sense. It is a fantastically shot masterpiece and may stand the test of time as one of Hooper’s greatest works.

“The Danish Girl” is a remarkable piece of art, worthy of a best picture nomination. And while I still place my bet on “The Revenant” to take home the win in the end, Redmayne and Hooper make a compelling argument in their own right.