The Danish Girl showcases the substantial acting talents of Eddie Redmayne, who plays Einar Wegener, a dashing young man in a loving relationship with Gerda, his charming wife, portrayed with passion and depth by Alicia Vikander. Both are aspiring artists, but Gerda is especially frustrated because her portrait paintings are rejected and she's not making it in the competitive European art world of the early twentieth century. Einar's artistic efforts focus on the same unfinished picture -- a dark, moody landscape from his childhood. In the scene, five or six tall, wispy trees stand apart against a backdrop of sea and mountains.
See the trailer: The Danish Girl
When the scheming couple decides to play a joke on friends, and dress Einar as a woman for an elegant art event, the incident leads to a devastating discovery that fractures what appears to be a perfectly matched, romantic pair. Gerda happens upon Einar kissing a man at the soiree, and is visibly shocked. Einar later confesses he has always known there was a woman inside him. Torn by his love for Gerda, he tries to be the man he was, but can no longer deny the female who wants to come out. As Lily, she acquires clothes, makeup, and gestures to express her new personality.
Distraught, Gerda yearns for the loving relationship she had with her supportive spouse and pleads with Lily to bring her husband back. Lily replies she can't. Gerda's loss of Einar and her marriage, their struggle to find help for him, and Lily's eventual decision to undergo sex reassignment surgery create the powerful arc of the storyline, loosely based on the Dutch artist who was one of the first people to undergo sex reassignment surgery. While the film stops short of exploring the complex personal, family, and social challenges faced by Eddie Redmayne's transgender character, the tragic blow Lily's awakening renders on Gerda is delivered in full force. The fictional tale provides context for appreciating the history and evolution of today's transgender community. The Danish Girl shines -- a work of art crafted with lush photography and heartfelt depictions of love, courage, and loss.