Director Tom Hooper deploys the same style he used in The King's Speech for this much darker story about the first man to undergo gender-reassignment surgery. It's an odd mix of rather too-pretty visuals with an edgy series of events that perhaps demands a lot more raw honesty. But the story is fascinating, and the cast is excellent, delivering astute, introspective performances that reveal the much earthier narrative under the lovely surface.
It opens in 1926 Copenhagen, where husband and wife painters Einar and Gerda Wegener (Eddie Redmayne and Alicia Vikander) are hoping to start a family as they develop their careers. One day, Gerda talks Einar into putting on a dress to pose for one of her paintings, and the experience triggers long-suppressed yearnings from his childhood. Gerda and their friend Ulla (Amber Heard) encourage him to attend a party in drag, and Lili Elbe is born, Einar's female alter ego who immediately attracts the attention of a lovelorn man (Ben Whishaw). After they move to Paris, they find another friend in Gerda's agent Hans (Matthias Schoenaerts), who was Einar's childhood pal. But while the French doctors think Einar is simply crazy, Gerda sticks by him as he decides to undergo a radical experimental surgery offered by a doctor (Sebastian Koch) in Germany.
Hooper's usual directorial flourishes include off-centre compositions, painterly sets and emotive close-ups, which bring out the internal struggles of the characters in beautiful ways. But this also has a tendency to simplify a story that is seriously complex. By emphasising the social conflicts and relational melodrama, the entire movie begins to feel rather thin, never quite grappling with the more provocative or disturbing aspects of the issues at hand. There are hints of what might have given the film an edgier kick, such as a moment of Hitchcockian obsession or the shifting of power between the male and female characters.
Continue reading: The Danish Girl Review
The Hollywood Film Awards fire the starting pistol on awards season in the movie industry.
British star Carey Mulligan was among the winners at the 19th annual Hollywood Film Awards for her central role as Maud in the new movie Suffragette, a laundry worker who joins the fight for the right for women to vote.
The 30 year old star, who gave birth to her first child with husband Marcus Mumford just a few months ago, won Best Actress at the 2015 edition of the gongs, which are the first major ceremony in a long run of black-tie events leading up to the Academy Awards on February 28th.
The Hollywood Film Awards winners are announced in advance and are not televised, but prominently features movies not on general release and are a reasonable indicator of what will be on offer during awards season.
Einar Wegener is a Danish artist, apparently happily married to wife of the same occupation Gerda. One day, Gerda persuades her husband to assist her as a female model while she paints, dressing up in a dress and stockings. An unexpected wave of clarity washes over Einar, who readily agrees to continue posing for Gerda. Dubbing the female persona Lili, Gerda takes her out for fun - but when it seems Lili is falling for her childhood friend Hans Axgil, she is heartbroken. She eventually understands that her husband is actually a woman in the wrong body, and stands by her woman as she undertakes groundbreaking gender reassignment surgery; a series of operations that could threaten her very life, let alone her marriage.
Continue: The Danish Girl Trailer
The director faced some backlash when Redmayne was announced as playing the transgender pioneer.
The Danish Girl director Tom Hooper has defended Eddie Redmayne’s casting as transgender artist Lili Elbe in the upcoming biopic, saying the actor landed the role thanks to his "certain gender fluidity”. Some trans activists had criticised Redmayne’s casting in the film, arguing that trans roles should be reserved for trans actors.
Eddie Redmayne as Lili Elbe in The Danish Girl.
Speaking to Screen Daily Hooper said, “Eddie was really the person I wanted to make the film with, and I was very passionate about that. I was a great believer in him as an actor."
Eddie Redmayne takes on his most 'sensitive' role as transgender pioneer Lili Elbe.
Eddie Redmayne prepares for another life-changing role in Tom Hooper's historical biopic 'The Danish Girl', in which he plays Lili Elbe - one of the first people to have ever undergone gender reassignment surgery, way back in the 1880s.
Eddie Redmayne dons a wig and lipstick for his most 'sensitive' role
If his career-defining role as physics genius Stephen Hawking in 'The Theory Of Everything' wasn't enough, the recent Oscar winner is setting the bar even higher with what could arguably his most challenging role yet. He will be teaming up with movement coach Alexandra Reynolds once again to get in touch with his feminine side, and he even told the Daily Mail, 'I think it's the most sensitive role I have played.'
Sacha Baron Cohen wanted to make a gritty film about Freddie Mercury's life with Oscar winning director Tom Hooper. Brian May did not.
Sacha Baron Cohen has left the movie biopic of iconic Queen frontman Freddie Mercury after a disagreement over the direction of the project. Cohen - who bears a dramatic resemblance to the singer - had wanted to make a gritty R-rated drama about the star's life, enlisting David Fincher and Tom Hooper to develop the project.
However - as is always the case with approval of Queen projects - the remaining members of the band were concerned about the movie's potential effect on Mercury's legacy and seemingly wanted to make a sugar-coated PG movie.
According to Deadline.com, the living members of Queen, including Brian May, rejected British writer Peter Morgan (The Queen, Frost/Nixon) as the writer, as well as both Fincher (The Social Network) and Hooper (The King's Speech) as directors.
Ahead of The Oscars 2013, we look at the casting process of Les Miserables
Anne Hathaway, Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe are all well-respected actors, who’ve carved out hugely successful careers. But that didn’t mean they got a free pass into Les Miserables – no – they had to audition, and by that we mean sing, like everybody else.
Continue reading: Oscars 2013 – Les Miserables Cast Sang For Their Roles In The Film
The big movie news this week, of course, was the announcement of this year's Oscar nominations, to which people reacted with the usual levels of surprise and anger. The biggest snub seems to be for previous winner Kathryn Bigelow, who was overlooked for a directing nomination even though her film Zero Dark Thirty earned five other nods, including Best Picture.
The National Board Of Review Awards took place last night (January 8, 2013), with many evidently viewing the bash as a warm-up before the Oscar nominations get announced tomorrow (January 10, 2013). As such, some of the names who may well be featuring in less than 24 hours time were on the red carpet, including Skyfall's Daniel Craig, Argo director and actor Ben Affleck, stars from Les Miserables including Anne Hathaway and Amanda Seyfried, and many more.
Hugh Jackman, Tom Hooper and Russell Crowe - Hugh Jackman, Tom Hooper, Russell Crowe Sydney, NSW, Australia The Australian premiere of 'Les Miserables' at the State Theatre - Arrivals Friday 21st December 2012
There is always some enormous risk in remaking well loved stories, be they originally films, plays, television series or literature. There will always be hype and there will always be people who prefer the original, think the film ruined the book, consider the remake redundant or those who simply don't like it. Along with all of these risks, movie makers also come across the problem of how to remake something while at once being true to the original and yet also being able to make their own mark on it. Tom Hooper has managed to tread these very lines well with his latest movie, Victor Hugo's Les Miserables.
Les Mis was loved even before it was published. Hugo was already a much adored poet and when the first of the five volumes were published in 1862 it had sold out in Paris within two days. With it's award winning and long running musical that has delighted theatre audiences for decades, the popularity Les Miserables has managed not to fade. Speaking to Time, Hooper explained his decision to include the brand new song, 'Suddenly', for Jean Valjean and performed by Hugh Jackman. "There's an inspiring line in the book" he says, "that goes something like... 'The bishop had taught him virtue. Cosette taught him the meaning of love'... these two epiphanies [are] the central transformative moments. The musical nails the first one but the second one is kind of underwritten." Adding, "So I took this wonderful paragraph and asked Claude Michel and Alain Boublil [the writer and lyricist], 'Can you write me a song about what it is like to fall in love with a child, to experience parental love out of nowhere?'" And they did.
So far responses to the song have been fairly positive, despite the mixed reviews it's been receiving, with Time's own review naming Hooper's direction 'bad', while Variety has said it would "have made Victor Hugo proud". Starring Anne Hathaway, Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Amanda Seyfriend, Helena Bonham Carter, Sacha Baren Cohen and introducing the adorable and talented Isabelle Allen as the young Cosette, Les Miserables will be in cinemas nationwide on January 11th.
Continue reading: Tom Hooper's Les Miserables: Making Something New Out Of The Old