(director: Tom Hooper; screenwriters: Lucinda Coxon/from the novel by David Ebershoff; cinematographer: Danny Cohen; editor: Melanie Oliver; music: Alexandre Desplat; cast: Eddie Redmayne (Einar Wegener/LiliElbe), Alicia Vikander (Gerda Wegener), Ben Whishaw (Henrik), Sebastian Koch (Warnekros), Amber Heard (Ulla), Matthias Schoenaerts (Hans Axgil); Runtime: 120; MPAA Rating: R; producer: Anne Harrison/Tom Hooper/ Gail Mutrux; Focus; 2015-U.K.-Germany-U.S.))

Redmayne’s performance makes things credible and watchable.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

A good production biopic drama about a transgender protagonist that amazingly sparks no controversy in today’s more open-minded world. Oscar-winning Brit director Tom Hooper (“Red Dust”/”The King’s Speech”/”Les Misérables“) tastefully directs it as an unusual real-life love story about a pair of Danish artists in 1926. Their love story is a groundbreaking transgender one, as the attractive beginner artist Lili Elbe (Alicia Vikander, Swedish actress) stands by her famous effete landscape artist husband Einar Wegener (Eddie Redmayne) after he poses for her portrait painting in woman’s clothes (in stockings and high heels) and feels so good about it he transitions to live the rest of his life as a woman named Lili. What the once popular couple must now face is the jeers from Danish society. They soon move to the more liberal climate of Paris, where Gerda’s career takes off. While the couple’s marriage evolves, it also comes under great strain. But it holds together because of Gerda’s continued support of her transgender hubby, as both play out the roles they deemed were meant for them.

The pic never messes around graphically with sex or surgery (even as the Redmayne character becomes one of the first in the world to undergo transgender surgery), as instead it allows us to observe how Gerda learns to accept this bizarre marriage as her karma and Lili learns how to function as a woman. Redmayne’s performance makes things credible and watchable. Vikander also effortlessly nails the nuances of her difficult supportive role. Too bad the sincere pic can’t reach higher than that, nevertheless it produces a few dazzling moments and an air of sophisticated intelligence about such delicate matters.

It’s from a safe Oscar intended script by Lucinda Coxon, who bases it on the novel by David Ebershoff.

REVIEWED ON 11/28/2015 GRADE: B    https://dennisschwartzreviews.com/