Monday, January 04, 2016

Review of 'The Danish Girl'

A much more emotionally engaging film than any I've seen lately. This deals with the relationship in the 1920s between two young Danish artists, one of whom decides that he wants to be a woman, not a man. Unsurprisingly it wasn't comfortable to watch - either in terms of what that character goes through or how it effects the relationship between the couple. I've no direct experience of this, but it seemed to me that the direction and the acting were excellent and treated the narrative with the sincerity and dignity that it deserved.

Of course it brought up lots of stuff, about the relationship between 'straight' and transgender people, and how to process that sort of transition. And naturally, about what kind of thing it is when people want to change their gender. In the film most of the doctors treat the character as insane. Mainly we don't do that now in this country, though I'm not sure how far popular attitudes have kept up with psychiatric and psychological procedure.

My own feelings are mixed up and muddled. I don't wish trans people any ill will, I don't want to stand in their way and I don't think they are 'insane'. But I do sort of think, in an amateur and not very focused way, that a more nuanced view of the nature of gender identity and sexual preferences than the 'woman trapped in a man's body' is possible.

Nevertheless this is a good, well-made film - watched at the Vue cinema in Stroud on a rainy Sunday night with few others there, BTW.

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