It’s Oscar season and the #OscarsSoWhite controversy (a very important one) has made this year’s awards ceremony more than just that, calling attention to a much bigger issue of the lack of diversity in the Academy as well as the nominees. However, it’s also worth mentioning that this year two films have called attention to something very important. Sexual and gender variance.
While The Danish Girl is concerned with gender dysphoria and cross gender identification, Spotlight exposes sexual deviance in the form of pedophilia among Catholic priests.
The Danish Girl tells the story of Lili Elbe, the first to become a transgender woman through a series of risk-ladden surgeries in the early 1900’s. While Eddie Redmayne as Einar/Lili was commendable as was Alicia Vikander, who played his wife Gerda, there was something ineffably missing for me in the film, leaving me with no emotional reaction or connection to it. However, The Danish Girl made me think which is perhaps more important.
Thinking of the risk Einar had taken in order to fully realise Lili’s presence made me question to what extent would you go to be who you really are. It’s terrifying and requires a great deal of courage which Lili demonstrated in a time when there was less understanding of transgender issues. So The Danish Girl at least works on that level, if not an emotional drama.
Spotlight, however, was the film of the year for me. I was enveloped in the story, having watched it three times in one week. The film portrays the Boston Globe’s investigation on pedophilia among priests and highlights the the fact that, while less common, it is possible for men of religion to abuse their so-called power. When sexually deviant priests molest and abuse children, majority of whom are young boys, not only do they cause psychological damage but they destroy someone’s faith in religion which is inadmissible. This is the one of the most dangerous things because as it was said in the film, how do you say no to God?
Maybe pray you never have to.
I sincerely hope Spotlight wins Best Picture, having my fingers crossed for it to get it’s well-deserved recognition. Though Revenant is favoured to win big, I hope this film doesn’t get sidelined in the process.