Like leading duo Eddie Redmayne and Alicia Vikander, this ravishing costume drama about the Danish artist who blazed a trail for gender reassignment is very pretty to look at, but for a film about a daring social pioneer The Danish Girl is far too decorous and safe for its own good.
Largely departing from the historical facts, director Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech) cleaves instead to biopic convention, handsomely setting his scene in 1920s Copenhagen, where successful landscape painter Einar Wegener (Redmayne) is happily married to fellow artist Gerda (Vikander).
Then comes the moment of revelation. Einar steps in for an absent model, donning women’s stockings and shoes to allow Gerda to complete a painting and the frisson he experiences leads him to question his gender identity.
Redmayne is very striking as Einar explores his feminine side and realises his true self as ‘Lili’, with ultimately tragic consequences. And the Oscar-winning Vikander is even more impressive as the confused but supportive Gerda. But Hooper’s overly stuffy approach prevents the movie from really taking wing.
Certificate 15. Runtime 115 mins. Director Tom Hooper
The Danish Girl is available on Blu-ray, DVD & Digital Download from Universal Pictures UK.