Tom Hooper’s “The Danish Girl” made its debut at the Venice Film Festival this morning, and a bunch of reviews are already out. The verdict? It depends who you ask, though all of the reviews seem to agree that Eddie Redmayne gives the performance Oscar voters are going to eat right up, whether they personally would vote for him or not. They also mostly concur that the film plays it very safe when it comes to its discussion of transgender identity, though given the filmmaker that’s no surprise.
We’ll see “The Danish Girl” next week in Toronto. Until then, here’s 7 other opinions:
Peter Debruge, Variety (positive): “For an actor, there can be few more enticing — or challenging — roles than this, in which the nature of identity, performance and transformation are all wrapped up in the very fabric of the character itself, and Redmayne gives the greatest performance of his career so far, infinitely more intimate — and far less technical — than the already stunning turn as Stephen Hawking that so recently won him the Oscar. Reuniting with “Les Miserables” director Tom Hooper in a return to the handsome, mostly interior style of the helmer’s Oscar-winning “The King’s Speech,” Redmayne finds himself at the heart — one shared by Alicia Vikander, as Einar’s wife, Gerda — of what’s destined to be the year’s most talked-about arthouse phenomenon.” Read the whole review.
Marlow Stern, The Daisy Beast (positive): A good film holds a mirror up to society, offering its strengths and weaknesses up to judicious scrutiny with the hope of creating a better world. Or it provides that sense of outrageous entertainment that allows us to bury our woes for a few hours and revel in its mystique. Director Tom Hooper’s follow-up to the oft-derided symphony of swooping cameras and bombast that was Les Misérables satisfies the former.” Read the whole review.
David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter (mixed/positive): “The correctness and careful sensitivity of the film’s approach seem somehow a limitation in an age when countless indie and cable TV projects dealing with thematically related subject matter have led us to expect a little more edge. But if the movie remains safe, there’s no questioning its integrity, or the balance of porcelain vulnerability and strength that Eddie Redmayne brings to the lead role.” Read the whole review.
Jonathan Romney, The Guardian (mixed): “No doubt this sumptuously mounted, high-minded and unabashedly Oscar-baiting undertaking will overall emerge dripping with honours. But well-meaning and polished as it is, The Danish Girl is a determinedly mainstream melodrama that doesn’t really offer new perspectives its theme; and in the year of Caitlyn Jenner, it’s a theme on which mainstream audiences are ready for more trenchant insight.” Read the whole review.
Jessica Kiang, The Playlist (mixed): “”The Danish Girl” is so primly told (bar perhaps one tucking scene), it treads so delicately around even the most conservative sensibilities that it might just work to change some minds, which makes it valuable in a way an edgier, swifter, more urgent, individual or exciting film (for it is none of those things) might not be. And you do not have to like it to believe that is true.” Read the whole review.