Film’s Authentic & Beautiful Design Deserves Oscars
For a design and art lover like me, the film “The Danish Girl” was pure ecstasy. In fact, I loved it so much I would rate it as one of my all-time favorite movies.
As a design historian, I particularly like to see period films. But I often get distracted when the sets are not historically accurate. I’m so focused on the visual design that a Louis XVI chair on a Louis XV set can take me out of the narrative so completely that I have to watch the movie a second time to concentrate on the story.
But not “The Danish Girl.” The story is riveting and the film so visually authentic and luscious – from the production design to costumes to makeup – that I was blissfully absorbed in both its emotional narrative and delicious look.
“The Danish Girl” tells the remarkable love story inspired by the lives of artists Einer Wegener/Lili Elbe and Gerda Wegener (portrayed by Academy Award winner Eddie Redmayne and Alicia Vikander) and directed by Academy Award winner Tom Hooper. Lili and Gerda’s marriage and work evolve as they navigate Lili’s groundbreaking journey as a transgender pioneer.
The film takes place in the 20s, primarily in Copenhagen and Paris, allowing the designers to capitalize on fabulous Art Nouveau and Art Deco visuals.
Oscar-nominated production designer Eve Stewart – who has been working in film, television, and theater for more than 20 years – does a masterful job creating the world of Lili and Gerda. It’s completely authentic, though I did notice that two scenes that take place in Paris were actually shot in the Horta Museum and Hotel Tassel in Brussels, Belgium.
“The Danish Girl” also gave the gift of discovery. I had never heard of Lili and Gerda, both artists, and have since taken an extensive look at their work. I’m taken with Gerda’s paintings, particularly those of Lili. Her paintings remind me of those by Tamara de Lempicka, another woman artist who found fame in Paris in the 20s.
And the costumes are equally sumptuous. If I could, I’d get all of Lily’s outfits.
“The Danish Girl” stands to garner Academy Award nominations. In my opinion, it should win a bunch of them. In any case, I highly recommend this moving and visually stunning film.