There are a lot of things about films that I pay attention to, so many more aspects and details I think about that I never paid attention to in my 20’s. After seeing thousands of films, working as a still photographer on set and visiting several big productions on set, not to mention all the hundred or more filming locations we’ve visited, I guess it’s impossible not to. But sometimes, it isn’t just the basic things I notice. Occasionally, a performance literally changes me as a person, and with The Danish Girl, I think it might actually change the world around us too.
We went to see The Danish Girl the other day and again, I paid attention to the locations (“I wonder if this place really is in Copenhagen and if we could visit”), the costumes (“clearly they’ve picked the most delicate material to emphasize how it affects Einar”), and the writing, of course, which I think brilliantly gave us reasons to laugh, but not to ridicule.
I also thought about the understanding of nuances and trust in each other the actors and the filmmakers must muster when telling such a delicate, important story of something that still – sadly – faces a lot of hate in today’s world.
But there’s one surprising thing that sometimes creeps up on me unexpected. It’s this reaction to certain films and performers: I get so deeply immersed in the performances of an actor or a performer, that it actually, very slightly changes my own mannerism for a period of time. This doesn’t occur very often, but when it does, I certainly take note. Sometimes, it happens with charismatic performers like Derren Brown (I had his convincing nodding tick for months without consciously doing it!) and now, it happened during The Danish Girl with Eddie Redmayne.
As I walked out of The Danish Girl’s screening and headed for the ladies room, I realised I was walking slightly different from usual. I was taking really delicate steps and carrying myself way more gracefully than I usually do. I smiled to myself as I realised, that for a really brief second, I was thinking of myself as a woman trapped inside a man’s body.
In a weird way, I kind of lived in her reality for that tiny moment walking down the cinema hallway. And I honestly think that’s a pretty amazing testimony to the actor’s ability to make you feel their character’s story.
The Danish Girl might not be my all time favourite film per se, but I will always recommend it to people asking about it. The incredible performances by both Alicia Vikander and our very own human cinnamon bun Redmayne left me in a ton of tears.
When the story is told right, people will be able to empathize with characters and their joys and sorrows that have nothing to do with their lives. Even if a viewer will never know what it feels like to be in the character’s situation, they can maybe understand it all a tiny bit better.
And maybe, just maybe, they’ll feel less prejudiced and more understanding towards different people. And hopefully, their hate and confusion will fade just a little bit.
I firmly believe it’s films like this that are actually making the world a better place. Maybe not by very much, but even the tiny drops matter in this vast sea of unfair destinies.