On Saturday I saw The Danish Girl followed by a Q&A with Tom Hooper led by the editor-in-chief of Backstage. Afterwards I ended up chatting with one of the producers for a while about how the film has been seen in the trans community. It was all pretty wonderful, so thanks for tweeting about it, Backstage!
Now, I could go on for ages about how the film itself is stunning and how the Q&A and discussion was insightful and interesting, and I would be right about all of it. I don't care that those are all subjective statements and matters of opinion. I would be right.
But that's not what I want to do here today. I want to focus on one very specific thing. Or, rather, person.
To me, Eddie Redmayne is pretty much a perfect actor, and I'll tell you why.
(#sorrynotsorry for putting what is essentially a clickbait title in the middle of my blog post.)
Tom Hooper said during the Q&A that he enjoys working with Redmayne because he's so emotionally open while performing. He said that, especially among British actors, you can oftentimes see not just their emotions, but their internal dialogue as part of them fights showing their emotions. And that can make for interesting acting in and of itself, but Redmayne is very in touch with who he is and what he's feeling, and he just... lets everything else go, and just shows what he's feeling right then and right there in the moment. And that's all true and wonderful.
But I think there is something else that makes him so good. He's just extraordinary at finding the love.
The material on which he chooses to work certainly helps with that. The Danish Girl, and last year's The Theory of Everything, are both filled with love. Like, you would have to find the love to do those well.
But on the way home from seeing The Danish Girl, I had the epiphany that everything is about the love. Every great story is a love story. It's not necessarily romantic love, it can also be platonic love, or passion/drive for or towards a specific thing. But it's all always about the love. And he knows how to find it.
The drier, more accurate and academic way of phrasing it is probably closer to "he clearly defines his relationships with everyone and everything around him in each of his roles." And, like, yeah. That's true. But I think, more than that, he also finds the love in each of those relationships somewhere.
Before I start repeating myself too much, the thesis I'm going for is that Eddie Redmayne is such an extraordinary actor because he not only defines his relationships in each role that he plays, but he goes beyond that to find the love in each of those relationships, which is what makes each of them effective, gorgeous, and human. And he's so good at it that he's made it exactly the kind of work I want to be doing.
Besides, it's also a beautiful way to take in the world.
...I may have spent this entire post fangirling over how good an actor Eddie Redmayne is, but I couldn't write a post about The Danish Girl without acknowledging Alicia Vikander and how extraordinary she is in this film as well. Not only is she also wonderful at finding the love, but she's also heart breaking, intelligent, and compelling. During the Q&A, Hooper said that Vikander is an actress who can make pure goodness interesting, which is a very rare trait in an art form that is attracted to conflict and discord. And her Gerda is so feminist while still being human and feeling pain. She's such a standout, and you should be on the lookout for everything that she does. Just sayin'.