CAST : EDDIE REDMAYNE, ALICIA VIKANDER, MATTHIAS SCHOENAERTS, AMBER HEARD, BEN WHISHAW, SEBASTIAN KOCH.
DIRECTION : TOM HOOPER
There is a reason I have titled this article with a quotation that appears in the beautifully resonant final scene from The Danish Girl, as the image of the scarf flying around open expanse of the countryside is a symbol of the end marking a new beginning. It’s beyond the mortal realm that the life and times of Einar Wegener (Eddie Redmayne) has occupied our conscience. But so tenderly, so practically and heartbreakingly has director Tom Hooper constructed his life sketch of this real figure that the idea of the man being among the first known figures to have undertaken gender reassignment surgery in annals of a burgeoning early twentieth century medical field isn’t sensational but invested with the slow burn that a radical passage of realization as this, patience and bemusement on the part of a social order comes to inform.
Again Hooper makes it the enduring tale of a couple – namely the Wegeners, Einar and Gerda ( Alicia Vikander) – as both take on dimensions of Einar’s transformation into his true self. As I had talked about in the previous post, the heartfulness way then gets established here by the support mustered up by Gerda even as her own selfhood is affected in monumental ways. It’s the classic trope of two against the mighty world. Where it stands apart is in the naturalistic way this quiet tragedy morphs to a sense of upliftment as individuality is restored, on body and soul. It’s lyrical and free flowing, just like the works of true artists as the couple, too, pursued the medium of painting as their vital source of self expression. The essence of Einar’s suffering is uncovered and touched by the heartfelt compassion of Gerda.
As section 377 has been struck down here in India, THE DANISH GIRL becomes an important reference point for facilitating greater understanding of the LGBTQ collective. Hooper treats it as so much more than mere case of sexuality. It’s in the individuality of his protagonists that he is interested in and is able to unearth their dilemmas and fears along with their triumphs of the spirit.
As regards the dialogue, ” let it fly” uttered by Gerda in the end, I was reminded of lines by C Day Lewis, “selfhood begins with a walking away. And love is proved in the letting go.” By the end of it, the permanence of their bond is established. A rare humanity is found in every nook of this screenplay. I don’t think anybody will remain unaffected or without moist eyes after watching this . As the images and sequences linger in my mind’s eye, I can vouch for that myself.
In the next part, few other thoughts about THE DANISH GIRL will be written by me.