The story of Gerda, a struggling portrait painter (Alicia Vikander) who loses a husband but gains a compelling subject — there’s nothing like a broken heart for inspiration! Of course, the losing and gaining are all of a piece, born from her man Einar’s (Eddie Redmayne) conclusion that while nature made him a man, God made him a woman, and like the saying goes, “I gotta be she.” Director Tom Hooper (Les Miserables) keeps Gerda at the painful center of the drama — at least at first — and it’s a wise decision: Vikander’s force, confidence, and charm are arresting. But eventually, he surrenders to the visual and psychological displays attendant on Redmayne’s prolonged transformation from Einar to Lili. The shift is understandable — an unhappy, neglected wife is common, while a man’s pursuit of a new body to match his new wardrobe and identity is still unusual. It’s also weirdly conventional, making the film less a portrait of an extremely complicated marriage, and more a tale of (very) personal expression in the face of a (somewhat) hostile, uncomprehending world. (2015) — Matthew Lickona
This movie is not currently in theaters.