IN 1920s Copenhagen, a husband and wife bicker amiably about an upcoming social event. Gerda, a portraitist (Alicia Vikander), wants to attend the artists’ ball; Einar, a landscape painter of growing renown (Eddie Redmayne), finds these events tiresome. “I feel as though I’m performing myself,” he complains. This could be a stock scene from any couple’s everyday struggles. But in “The Danish Girl”, it finds an unusual resolution. In order to escape the trial of performing Einar Wegener, prodigy artist, Gerda suggests that her husband go as “Lili” instead, his female alter-ego. She buys him stockings and helps him apply makeup, laughing at the game. As Einar slips into character, however, it becomes unclear which identity is the performance and which is reality: “There was a moment”, he confesses the next morning, “when I was just Lili.”
Based on David Ebershoff’s bestselling novel, “The Danish Girl”, directed by Tom Hooper, is the true story of one of the first people to undergo sex re-assignment surgery. It’s also a portrait of a marriage and an artistic partnership.