I’ll see your ‘The Notebook’ and raise you ‘The Danish Girl’

In the last three weeks I have jetted from London to LA, LA to Mexico, Mexico to Toronto and Toronto to London (albeit the flight to Toronto was only a stop over on my return back to London). Nonetheless, as someone who struggles immensely to sleep on airplanes, these journeys were used to catch up on all the newly released movies I had missed in the cinema. Among my choices, and perhaps the only one worth a mention and indeed a blog post, was The Danish Girl

Those that know me will know that I’m not much of one for romantic movies. They’re usually split into two categories I find; romantic comedies (in which the romance is based on some sort of warped neo-sexist ideology and the comedy is abysmal (if existent at all), and romance films (i.e. the “tearjerkers”), in which the romance is overdramatised and intensified to the point of farce. The majority of the latter usually result in 90 minutes of me rolling my eyes I’m afraid. I realise I may sound incredibly cynical and you may even be thinking good grief does she have no heart! But the fact of the matter is, I’d rather choose a gruesome tarantino, a thrilling scorcese, or a geektastic marvel or sci fi film over a love story. Or so I thought. 

An hour into The Danish Girl and admittedly Lili’s delicate hand gestures/movements and nervous little smiles and chuckles were becoming somewhat tiresome, but it is the second half of the movie in which I felt truly moved by her story. As you witness her struggle and confusion over her identity throughout several doctors appointments and inaccurate diagnoses, as well as the changing dynamics of the relationship between herself and her wife Gerda, you begin to recognise the complexity of emotions felt by the characters. At the root of it all though is love. Authentic, unfaltering, undeniable love for Lili from Gerda. And that, ladies and gentleman, is what makes a love story in my opinion. It’s not flowers, it’s not Valentine’s Day, it’s not wondering whether or not the person is ‘into you’ or justifying or overcoming reasons of why you can or can’t or should or shouldn’t be together. Love is doing whatever it takes to make your loved one happy. Even if it means having to lose them forever. It is the absolute definition of selflessness. Gerda was there for Lili every step of the way no matter what, and that is what makes The Danish Girl such a beautiful, emotional and honest love story. 

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