Oh so pretty. Oh so plain. Oscar-season filmmaker Tom Hooper (“The King’s Speech,” “Les Misérables”) relates the true, 1926-set story of a Danish man who was the world’s first to undergo sex reassignment surgery. A pair of Copenhagen painters live in seeming bliss: Eddie Redmayne (“The Theory of Everything”) is provided a more flattering backdrop for his distinctive, pale ginger beauty than “Jupiter Ascending” earlier this year, and Alicia Vikander (“Ex Machina”), as the wife who stands behind him and offers gentle nudges as he transforms into Lili Elbe, is mesmerizing, at once translucent and grounded in her flickering gestures, a perfume floating above the commonness of the storytelling. Lucinda Coxon adapted David Ebershoff’s book, and the pacific pace of the film obscures at first that the story is more about wife than husband. The film’s hopeful display of lasting love under singular circumstance is its most affecting prospect. Otherwise, surfaces shimmer. And Alexandre Desplat’s score attempts to inject excitable energy into the proceedings, to sometimes cartoonish ends. With Eddie Redmayne, Alicia Vikander, Matthias Schoenaerts, Ben Whishaw, Amber Heard. 120m. (Ray Pride)
“The Danish Girl” opens Friday, December 11 at River East, Landmark Century and Century Evanston.
Ray Pride is Newcity’s film critic and a contributing editor to Filmmaker magazine.
His multimedia history of Chicago “Ghost Signs” will be published later this year.