The Danish Girl: A man’s identity passage to becoming a woman



The film is comparable to watching a beautiful painting that sincerely evokes feelings of sadness, confusion and jubilation all at the same time. It has a wonderfully weird, romantic, witty and quite frankly disturbing storyline.

In the movie, painter Einar Wegener played by actor Eddie Redmayne, is married to fellow painter Gerda (Alicia Vikander). The movie opens with the married couple in a happy marriage and in the process of trying for a baby.

Einar is highly praised in his art while Gerda is still trying to make a name for herself.

Everything dramatically changes after the couple’s friend is late for a portrait session with Gerda. In her desperation to complete her artwork in time, she convinces her husband to temporarily replace the friend by posing in stockings and satin slippers.

It is then when Einar experiences some kind of self-revelation within himself, and further explores his feminine side who is shortly afterwards revealed in the movie as Lili Elbe.

As the movie progresses, Lili becomes Gerda’s new portrait subject but also begins to make more of a frequent appearance in the couple’s marriage and this begins to concern Gerda.

The movie continues with Einar finally preparing to undergo a sex-change operation after enduring a struggle to find out what is wrong with him, only to come to the conclusion that he is a woman trapped inside a man’s body.

Redmayne, who is one of the Best Actor nominees at this year’s Academy Awards for his role in the movie is exceptional in this role as Einar and his transition into Lili, however, Vikander steals the show.

In her role as Gerda, she is resilient and supportive of her husband even though it hurts her that she is losing him every day. She fights to get him the help he needs and the happiness he seeks.

The movie is a beautifully told true-life drama that has emotional and uncomfortable moments. These moments put the audience in a compromising situation on whether to cheer on Lili’s goal to become what she believes is her true self or feel sorry for Gerda as she loses her husband during the transition.

More than anything the film is about a compassionate love story that stands the test of time right until the end.

The Danish Girl will be released in South African cinemas nationwide on 29 January.


Watch the trailer of The Danish Girl


Gugu Zwane

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