In 1930, Lili Elbe became one of the first transgender individuals to undergo sex-reassignment surgery. But at least a decade before her first operation, Elbe regularly appeared in public — and in her wife’s paintings — as a woman, to the shock of many who had known her as a man.
Elbe’s realization of her true gender identity and her inevitable tensions with her wife are the subject of “The Danish Girl,” starring Eddie Redmayne as Elbe and Alicia Vikander as her wife, Gerda Wegener. Based on both the real-life personage and a novel about her, the lavish period drama — as can be seen in the new trailer — celebrates Elbe’s courage to be her true self. Sure, it’s also a vehicle for Redmayne to land his second Oscar, but that shouldn’t detract from the inherent beauty of Elbe’s story.
Written by Lucinda Coxon, “The Danish Girl” opens November 27.