If you only have enough time to watch 12 movies this year (assuming one movie a month on average), then make sure this is one of them. It may not be a classic yet, but it’s definitely worth watching, and a deep, soulful, touching and beautiful movie. And Eddie Redmayne has done it again. From portraying the world renowned physicist Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything one year ago, to bringing to life the story of Lili Elbe, the first transgender person in the world, he has proven as one of the most talented actors of his time. And who knows, with some luck, another Oscar may be coming his way.
It was astounding and amazing to witness the transformation of Einar, from a fully normal man to a very feminine woman. When you look at him in the first few minutes of the movie, you really cannot believe that he would turn into a woman. Eddie was very convincing as a man. Soulful, sensitive, a painter. A caring husband, perhaps too caring, but possible, given that his wife was such a beautiful woman, Gerda (Yes, he used to have a wife, and they lived a normal couple life).
Some people might blame Gerda for setting off the motion that eventually changed Einar into Lili, by cross dressing him so that she could finish her picture, but I don’t think so. After all, Einar had been described as “too pretty” since young, which meant something had been inside him long before that, another character that just waited for a chance to come to life. If Gerda had not done so, Einar might not have transformed, but he would not be able to live the real life that he would be living. It’s a painful transformation, but it brought him true happiness, and even if that event had not happened, something else might still have kicked off the transformation anyway.
Eddie was even more convincing as a woman. He not only dressed that part, with
gesture, the facial expression, the smile. Everything was so feminine, so girly, so gentle. In fact, he did not need the dresses to turn into Lili. He was Lili all the while, the dresses just made the whole thing complete. Eddie must have spent a lot of time and effort to research for this role in order to portray the transformation so convincingly.
What touched me most from the movie was not the change in the way Einar looked, but the change in his emotion. The initial guilt eventually turned into acceptance, and after he accepted and convinced those closest to him to accept his change, he was really much happier. It was a pain for him to hide his own self, to the extent that he even told the doctor to take his man trace away, since he did not feel it belonging to him at all. The transformation was rocky, full of tears and grievance, but in the end, it brought hope, contentment and happiness to everyone involved, to a certain extent, and that was what really mattered, after all.
It was not a happy ending, since the real life story that the movie based on did not end well either. But at least, in the end, Lili could really be a full woman, and that made her very happy, even just for a short time. After all, her dream had come true, and her journey, which seemed impossible, had completed. To me, that was a happy ending.
Starring opposite Eddie in this movie is Alicie Vikander. A young actress from Sweden, she has been getting more and more attention recently, with various roles in Hollywood movies during the past 3 years. This role will surely bring her more attention, and a major boost to her career. It’s not an easy role to nail, but she has done pretty well, and I can feel her waves of emotion throughout the movie.
A talented painter, and a strong woman who did not hesitate to express her emotions, desires and feelings, Gerda seemed like a perfect match for Einer. She brought out the true beauty in him, igniting the flame that consumed both their lives. She was no doubt a loving wife, but she was also willing to let go. She went through pains, despair and hopelessness. She even denied the truth, hoping that by hiding it, everything would be back to normal. That was normal, and very human. Alicia managed to show all that clearly on screen. She lived the part, and acted just like it was her own life. She cried, she laughed, she lived. She really managed to bring Gerda from the pages to the real world.
A beautiful actress, natural acting skill, an emotional face with talking eyes, she has every prerequisite for a successful career in Hollywood. Like Felicity Jones, whose career really took off after playing Jane Hawking in The Theory of Everything, Alicia have the potential to become a major star, given that she continues working hard and chooses good roles and gives them her best. I am sure we will be seeing more and more of her in time to come.
A small supporting role went to Amber Heard, and although she did not have much screen time, I must admit that she really brightened up the screen every time she appeared. Her beauty was really stunning. She was simply too beautiful. I am not sure if it’s intentional or not, but having her in the cast alone is enough to draw some more looks to the movie, and having her in the cast photo will surely make the release event more attractive to the press, especially given the fact that she would likely bring her husband, who was none other than Mr. Johnny Depp, along. And she did.
So, if you still want to catch in on the big screen, go ahead and rush to the cinema, maybe some of them are still running the movie. If you are ok to wait, the DVD release may be coming quite soon, due to the fact that this is not really a blockbuster per se. Till then, you can still enjoy the trailer and some photos of the film.