Sandy Kenyon reviews 'The Danish Girl,' starring Eddie Redmayne

NEW YORK (WABC) -- More than eight decades before Caitlyn Jenner made transgender a household word, Lili Elbe was a real-life pioneer in sex-reassignment surgeries.

Now, Elbe's incredible story is coming to the big screen, and "The Danish Girl" is getting some early Oscar buzz.

Eddie Redmayne makes a strong bid for a second straight Best Actor Academy Award as a painter named Einar, who the audience first meets alongside his wife Gerda, also a painter.

She asks him to fill in for a missing model, prompting him to dress up in women's clothing, and the transformation begins.

The year is 1926, and not everyone is as open-minded as the art crowd.

How Einar becomes Lili is handled with sensitivity and grace, and so Lili becomes determined to have a body that matches.

The painful challenges faced by the characters resonate down through the generations to make his transformation an act of courage.

Redmayne manages to communicate so much without words, as "The Danish Girl" tells a universal story of how painful it can be to discover one's truest self.
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