I cannot think of a better young actor than Eddie Redmayne. Maybe because he doesn’t have that much of a big public persona (unlike, say, Leonardo DiCaprio) so whenever he tackles a role, you don’t even, for a second, see Redmayne. Instantly, the character you see is the character in the movie. Never for a second do you not see Einar Wegener, so when Einar transitions to Lili, it packs a better punch, because Redmayne never entered your mind. Could you imagine, again to use as an example, if DiCaprio essayed this role? Oh, that’s Leo if he was a woman, you would say, jumping from the character to the actor. There has been talk that Redmayne could do a Tom Hanks, meaning back-to-back Actor Oscar wins, and he certainly deserves it. Redmayne not only brings an emotional connection to the role, but here he conveys on screen a physical transformation that is astounding, poignant, and touching. It’s a full performance. Here I am, days later, and I am still thinking about it. (Ironica lly, the other front-runner for the Actor Oscar is Leonardo DiCaprio) Alicia Vikander, as Gerda, Einer’s wife – is just as good, her journey just as engrossing. But this painting is Redmayne’s canvas, and she frames it impeccably.
I wish I liked the film as much – Tom Hooper has directed a film that’s nice, easy, and clean, and that is its most problematic aspect – it is too nice, too clean, and too easy. All the right buttons were punched, and I wish for a second there was something that surprised me. Everything that happened I expected to happen. At times, it became close to boring – the late middle part dragged a bit. But make no mistake, most of the film touched just the right emotions. And it is certainly worth a look, even if just to see the wonderful performances of Redmayne and Vikander.