Tag: Eddie Redmayne

The Danish GIrl

December 2nd, 2015 — 12:19am

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The Danish Girl-sp

You probably know the modern day’s story of Caitlyn Jenner. You may be familiar with the successful TV series Transparent. If you are old enough, you may remember Christine Jorgenson, who was one of the first transsexuals to have successful reassignment surgery. Certainly you are aware of the transgender community and their fight for recognition and for fair and equal treatment. But you are probably not aware of the little known love story of Einar/Lili and Gerda, circa 1920s, which culminates when Einar recognizes that he was a woman trapped in a man’s body and is going to try to do something about it .

This is a true story based on a book by David Ebershoff brought to life in the screen play by Lucinda Cox, which went back to the original diaries left by Gerda. This was a movie project carried for 15 years by producer Gail Mutrux who optioned this book over this period of time and went through over 70 potential directors and a few actors who were considering these fascinating roles including Nicole Kidman who at one point was interested in playing the transgender role. It was not until Mutrux was able to interest director Tom Hooper (Academy Award wining director of The King’s Speech) that this project that got its legs. Hooper showed the script to Eddie Redmayne (Oscar winner for the Stephen Hawking role in The Theory of Everything) who came on board. Swedish actress Alicia Vikander joined the cast and there was a chemical reaction which brings us one of the highlight films of the 2015 season.

Redmayne combined his sensitive demeanor with a soft spoken rendition of a talented painter and happily married man who becomes acutely aware of his feminine side which breaks out of its shell and could not longer be contained. His transformation from Einar to Lili is one of the acting triumphs of the season. At the same time Alicia Vikander turns in a performance which matches Redmayne with sensitivity and insight, as we see joy turn to doubt and then to disbelief but yet she maintains her unyielding love for her husband.

This is a period piece which reproduces the European setting in which it is taking place. The two main characters are artists and the paintings and drawings in the movie are very much a part of the story. We understand that these pieces, which were used in the film will live on for some worthy causes. The photography by Danny Cohen is magnificent and Alexandre Desplat does his usual great job with a musical score that you may not recall but has set the mood of the film. We know this movie will long be remembered as a representation of the real life struggle that so many transgender people are experiencing. (2015)

Comment » | 5 Stars, Drama, History, Romance

The Theory of Everything

November 1st, 2014 — 5:00am

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The Theory of Everything –sp Most people know Stephen Hawking as a brilliant physicist confined to a wheel chair with ALS, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. This is a progressive muscular degeneration which has taken away most of his ability to move his limbs or even breath normally. He is limited to communicate with a speech synthesizer machine, which he controls with the minimal movements that he can make. He wasn’t always this way This film traces his life from his early college days in England where he was recognized as an outstanding student and it also was the time that he fell in love with Jane who became his wife and mother of his 3 children. We see him develop his groundbreaking theories of the universe at the same time that he was developing his devastating disease. This film highlights another remarkable accomplishment and that is the almost unbelievable manner in which Eddie Redmayne has been able to inhabit Hawking as his disease was progressing. The actor gave the appearance of a man with a gradually deteriorating body with strange limb postures, facial distortions and barely understandable speech but yet had a twinkle in his eye and a finely honed sense of humor. It is an extraordinary acting accomplishment that deserves to be recognized at awards time. Felicity Jones is also excellent as his sensitive wife who displays determination, frustrations as well the understandable complicated emotions as they decide to separate after years of marriage. Credit also has to be given to James Marsh who directed this film.

     The screenplay by Anthony McCarten must be in part based on a book by Jane Hawking. We are also given at least a partial understanding of Professor Hawking’s evolving theories of the universe. The movie provides some insight into the complicated love relationship of Jane and Stephen as well as the circumstances that led them to separate and form new attachments to two very important people in their lives played by Emily (not Emma) Watson and Charlie Cox.

     Stephen Hawking has been recognized by the British Queen and by the scientific community as one of the great minds of modern times. This movie also makes the case that his character, fortitude, determination and warmth should not be forgotten. (2014)

Comment » | 5 Stars, Biography

The Yellow Handkerchief

September 6th, 2010 — 8:15am

The Yellow Handkerchief * * * *
The Yellow Handkerchief
– sp – 83 year old Arthur Cohn who is a five time Oscar winner with films dating back to 1961 was the producer of this film and guest at our screening. He noted that for many of his great movies, including The Garden of the Finzi-Continis, it was often difficult to get a distributor and the films did not achieve box office success until they won the Oscar. In the case of this current film he told us that be thought that the reason he had trouble getting a distribution (finally picked up by Samuel Goldwyn Films) was because this movie does not have sex or any significant violence which many people believe are necessary for a movie to achieve box office success. This film is a road movie which follows Brett, played William Hurt, as he is released from prison after serving 6 years and hitches a ride with a 15 year old girl played by Kristen Stewart (of Vampire movie fame) and slightly older teenage guy played by Eddie Redmayne. Both young people have their own histories of feeling unloved and would like to get away from their unhappy lives. Brett’s history unfolds through a series of short flashbacks as they travel in the south towards New Orleans. He had a troubled youth and hadn’t made much of his life. He thought perhaps things were changing around when he met May played by Maria Bello, but his view of himself as a flawed person along with some particular circumstances caused him to destroy this relationship and end up in jail. As the three travelers who were seemingly going nowhere in their lives get to understand each other and grow, there is a sense of redemption. You see these three misfits and unlikely companions travel in a battered old convertible through Louisiana on their way to New Orleans which is beautifully photographed by award winning Director of Photography Chris Menges. The energy and eternal hope that producer Cohn put into this project (which comes to the to the screen three years after it was filmed) makes us want to root for the this movie to be successful just as we find ourselves also rooting for the characters to make it in their lives. You are left with the dream of the possibility of second chances, which is no small feat. (2008)

Comment » | 4 Stars, Drama, Romance

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