Director Tom Hooper's "The Danish Girl" is precisely the sort of film that picks so-called challenging subjects solely to get the Oscars' attention and turns the story of Lili Elbe, the first known recipient of the sex reassignment surgery, into one big, bloated, transphobic prestige picture. The problem is that although the film thinks it's paying tribute to Lili, iy in fact never treats her as a normal human being. The protagonist of the film is locked in and never freed of director Hooper' and star Eddie Redmayne's gaze. Both the character and the performance are heavily externalized: Redmayne reduces the performance to a series of overly "feminine" tics while the character never goes beyond the extremely superficial sense of what it is to be a transgender person. There's one scene in which Lili, who's yet to transition fully, looks at a cis female stripper through a glass window, emulating her gestures; and the moment is emblematic of the film's stance too (I saw the film uncensored at a film festival, but the aforementioned scene is unlikely to survive Nihalani uncle's scissors in the theatrical cut.) It fixes its gaze upon Lili while constantly branding her as the "other" - it invites us to almost stare at this "unusual, never seen before specimen" all while peppering its imagery with hollow, picture postcard period design, thereby massively undermining the very prospect of getting us to know the person closely. While Redmayne's useless performance reduces the character to a set of gimmicks, the one truly knockout performance of the film comes from the lovely Alicia Vikander (who was also terrific in "Ex Machina" and "The Man From U.N.C.L.E.") who avoids the basic mistake Redmayne does: she doesn't see her character as someone out of the ordinary and infuses her with a kind of humaneness which Redmayne couldn't dream of achieving. The year 2015 saw another film about transgender people that very avoids nearly every glaring mistake "The Danish Girl" makes: Sean Baker's "Tangerine" is a film about trans people in which the characters are actually played by trans people and not cis men such as Redmayne desperate for an award. That film seems perfectly cool with the fact that its characters are trans and doesn't need to underline that fact every now and then. Instead, the characters of those films face problems, but the fact that they're trans isn't one of them. In short, they're portrayed at perfectly normal human beings with perfectly normal issues - just as it should be. I'd strongly recommend you check that out over the irritatingly precious "The Danish Girl".