The Oscars Reviews: The Danish Girl & Carol

In the last post it was two stories of guys, this time it’s time for the girls.

thedanishgirlposterThe Danish Girl (2015)

Directed by Tom Hooper

Written by Lucinda Coxon, the book by David Ebershoff

Starring Eddie Redmayne & Alicia Vikander

Synopsis: “A fictitious love story loosely inspired by the lives of Danish artists Lili Elbe and Gerda Wegener. Lili and Gerda’s marriage and work evolve as they navigate Lili’s groundbreaking journey as a transgender pioneer.”

The Danish Girl is beautiful. “Beautiful” is the word that describes it perfectly, this kind of distantly beautiful, a film you admire and can see its beauty but can’t really feel its warmth or sadness. The Danish Girl doesn’t really move you in the way, I think, it should. But then again, it’s really well-made and has two spectacular performances in the centre of it.

The Danish Girl is nominated for four Oscars; the best performance by actor in a leading role, the best performance by an actress in a supporting role, the best costume design and the best production design. And it deserves to be nominated in all of them. The film is very feminine and thus the costumes are also very feminine, they flow and dance around our characters, you could even say that the costumes are characters themselves as they are huge part of the transformation that our main character goes through. And as I said, The Danish Girl is beautiful and that is lavishly showed in production design. A viewer’s eyes can rest on the screen, it’s so very nice to look at. I also enjoyed how the film is shot, how the light has been used to highlight the features of faces or even figures.

alicia_vikander

The best parts in The Danish Girl are still the performances of Eddie Redmayne and especially Alicia Vikander. Redmayne greatly achieves to portrait the torture Lily is going inside and his looks are just perfect for the part. And as we should already know, he’s very talented actor. But the find here (and in Ex Machina also) is Alicia Vikander, she’s astonishing and should win the Oscar for her performance. It’ll be robbed if she doesn’t. She was already robbed by putting her in supporting when her role is obviously leading lady. While Redmayne’s character is a bit off-putting in her selfishness, Vikander’s Gerda is more rooted, more real, more emotional of those two. It’s easier to understand her suffering and the reactions she gives in situations. If that story is true, how that incredible woman took his husband’s change, I have nothing but admiration towards her. What a woman!

While The Danish Girl is too distant for my taste, it still should be seen just because of those two performances. And as we all know, the lives of transgender people are more than relevant at the moment and here is a story that might shed some understanding on the matter.

Rating: ***½ (out of 5)

carolposter

Carol (2015)

Directed by Todd Haynes

Written by Phyllis Nagy, novel by Patricia Highsmith

Starring Rooney Mara & Cate Blanchett

Synopsis: “An aspiring photographer develops an intimate relationship with an older woman.”

Another case where there is total category fraud in the Oscars again. Rooney Mara IS the leading lady here. More so than Blanchett but to be honest, they both are. It is a story of two women who face the hard reality of life when they fall for each other. Besides that they should both be in a leading category for actresses, they both are worth of that. 2015 was a great year for ladies and all of them more than deserve their nominations and recognition they are getting. Hopefully the salaries will follow the suit.

Carol is nominated for six Oscars. I predicted it would get nine nominations, I was wrong with the director, production design and best picture. The latter especially surprised me as it’s still nominated in several categories and to me that means it’s one of the best films of the year. But I guess it’s not nominated because of the weird voting system of the Oscars (explanation here at Gold Derby). Because it definitely is not the best film of the year. To me it wasn’t even near. Yes, it has everything is should have but I just didn’t really care. Blanchett’s character is not very nice, she seems uninterested in others’ feelings. Mara is good and vulnerable but for some reason she has always been great at picturing distant characters and again she does that well. If The Danish Girl was too emotionless, Carol was even more so and what’s even worse; it was also a bit boring, I checked my watch way too often.

Carol-costumes

But like I said, everything is there. The costumes are striking and especially Blanchett carries them like a true queen. I liked the script, it felt real but it is understated like the whole film. I really didn’t like the cinematography, it is (I guess) suitable for the era but not to me, it looks dirty and old and nah, I didn’t like it at all, especially because I’ve just seen The Danish Girl (I saw these two in a row) that I liked to look at a lot. On the other hand, I’m very happy that Carter Burwell was nominated for the Oscar, he very much deserves it and the music in the film is suitable and supports the story well and this is his first nominations in the Oscars. But like in the case of The Danish Girl, the performances are THE reason to see Carol. And I guess if you like other films of Todd Haynes, you’ll probably like this one too. I don’t like his films and I should just finally realise it.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

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6 thoughts on “The Oscars Reviews: The Danish Girl & Carol

  1. Nice reviews! I was mostly underwhelmed with both of these, I had high expectations. I do think the acting from Vikander, Mara, and Blanchett is wonderful though, and both films are pretty to look at.

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