Thursday, August 3, 2017

"She Was Always There..."

I had been wanting to see the Danish Girl for quite some time, and I just got around to seeing it the other day. Granted, there is much about the topic of this film that is politically charged, or even in dispute within the world of psychology and psychiatry, but I am only going to discuss the film itself not the politics of it. This movie is based on apparently the true life story of a Danish man who wanted to become a woman in all sense of the meaning, and he pursued this goal to the end result where he no longer considered himself a man but a woman. That's basically the story of the film. Eddie Redmayne plays Einar Wegener/Lili Elbe. If this film does anything, it shows beyond a shadow of doubt how talented Mr. Redmayne is. There isn't really an effective way for me to explain it in English what he did, or what he captured with his performance other than to say it was indeed profound. I don't know anything about the real life man this film is based off of, but by the end of the film one can truly believe that Mr. Redmayne is the character; that's how good he was. Alicia Vikander played the wife and won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her work, and it was well deserved (although she should have won Best Actress since she had a major role in the film; dumb Oscar politics). The audience could agonize and empathize with her and she also agonized and empathized with her husband as he descended from heterosexuality to transsexualism, and what that experience was like for her. It was a brilliant performance and she earned that Oscar for sure. Honestly, these two were the movie, and although there were many cast members, none of them really stood out at all aside from these two; Alicia Vikander and Eddie Redmayne are the reasons, and only reasons anyone would watch this film.
Tom Hooper (Les Miserables and The King's Speech) was an excellent director, and he knows historic subject matter very, very well. I really have no complaints with his direction whatsoever, aside from a few moments here and there where I found myself bored, but I was quite engaged the majority of the film. Lucinda Coxon wrote the screenplay and I have to say that she delivered remarkably well. Such elegant language so beautifully written, which really made the two main characters really come alive; it definitely should have been nominated for an Oscar (once again, dumb Oscar politics). Alexandre Desplat composed the music, and big surprise I didn't really care for it, and also it wasn't that good. It came off as really tinkly and pretty; there wasn't any heartwarming themes or motifs, or soaring melodies that were as compelling as the characters. It was a fairly simplistic score. Danny Cohen who did the cinematography was breathtaking; the way the camera captured so many of the scenes and the action happening on the set was exquisite; it reminded me of art, like one of Degas' paintings of the dancing girls. Overall it was a remarkably well made film, and beautifully acted. However, the film is very heavy and difficult to watch. It's not a lucky go happy film at all, even though it really starts out that way, it doesn't end that way at all. It's kind of like The Hours in that regard; extraordinarily well done, but really depressing to watch. That's where I feel The Danish Girl fits in, and so while I may watch it again one day, it's not something I would watch very often. This film isn't everybody's cup of tea, but I do appreciate what that it makes people think and consider something different than their own perspective. And it does so not in a preachy way, but in a personal way. So if you like all of that stuff then I recommend you watch it, and if not, then perhaps you should watch it and just think; this is not a pure entertainment film, it makes one think, and that's what I liked about it.
So I just recently finished reading the biography of former U.S. President Andrew Jackson written by H.W. Brands. All I have to say is wow! I am surprised that man lived as long as he did considering what he survived. Both of his parents died when he was a young boy, and thus he forged his own way and destiny in life, and he fought (literally) tooth and nail to get to be President of the United States of America as the country's seventh president. There was a lot I found remarkable about the man, and I was actually surprised that I ended up liking him more than I ever used to. I would definitely rank him as one of the greatest U.S. presidents ever. Honestly there is so much to say about the man; the duels he fought in the name of honor, how he looked out for the men under his command, the beautiful love and devotion he had for his wife, his fierce determination, and perhaps what struck me the most was his relentless and never-ending defense of the union of the United States of America. If there was anything that stuck with me, it was how fervent he was of the U.S. always remaining together united under one flag despite all of the differences the states had with each other, especially in those days with slavery being legal. He almost went to war with South Carolina for whispers of succession from the union. He was not hesitant at all to attack Britain, Spain or France to protect the U.S., or even the Native Americans. Granted, like every U.S. presidents he had faults and made mistakes but he created a powerful legacy by championing and empowering the rural and average Americans. His election was truly the first time real every day, ordinary Americans got to vote and choose their president rather than the elites of the country doing the choosing for them, and this radical change from Republicanism to Democracy is still the tradition in today's voting. Actually, Jackson proposed an amendment to the Constitution to eliminate the Electoral College and just have a straight popular vote, but that didn't go anywhere much to many people's irritation today. So next, I'm moving onto Jackson's nemesis; John Quincy Adams. I would urge all Americans to read and study up on the U.S. Presidents; knowledge is power, and in these days the more one is armed with accurate knowledge, the more protected all Americans are from what former U.S. President J.Q. Adams described as the chaotic forces of democracy. God be with us all.

The Danish Girl scene

Alicia Vikander interview

Goodbye Christopher Robin trailer

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