The much-awaited (both by those excited to see Eddie Redmayne’s transformative performance, and by those eager to underscore how Redmayne’s transformative performance — while indeed transformative — could have been played by a trans actor) trailer for Tom Hooper’s The Danish Girl is finally here.
The Danish Girl depicts the life of Lili Elbe, who, living initially by the identity with which she was born in the late 1800s — Einar Magnus Andreas Wegener — had been a married artist. Elbe’s wife, Gerda Gottlieb (played by Ex Machina‘s Alicia Vikander in the film), was also an artist, and one day, Elbe filled in for one of Gottlieb’s models, donning women’s clothing — and attained a never-before-felt sense of comfort. Gottlieb’s art became highly recognized, without people knowing that her female subjects were often based on her spouse.
Eventually, Elbe became one of the first people to receive the then-experimental and incremental sexual reassignment surgery; her marriage dissolved, and she left art behind, affiliating it with her former identity. She had her name legally changed, and was able to get a passport bearing her full new name, Lili Ilse Elvenes (Elbe was her more-frequently-used nickname) — but died three months after her final surgery. In an op-ed for The Advocate, David Ebershoff — who wrote the biography on which the film is based — said of Elbe:
Lili knew that a false life is no life at all. Who are we? Whom do we want to become? How do we perceive ourselves? How do we want to be perceived? These questions of identity are often at the core of our own internal struggles. Resolve them, and you are closer to being free.
The film, which also stars Ben Whishaw, Amber Heard, and Matthias Schoenaerts, will be released in North America on November 27. Watch the trailer:
Here’s the poster: