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Gods and Monsters
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Gods and Monsters More at IMDbPro »

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

An excellent, if somewhat flawed, look at the life and work of James Whale

9/10
Author: Robert Reynolds (minniemato@hotmail.com) from Tucson AZ
9 October 2000

I've always been fascinated by James Whale, if for no other reason than the fact that, in one career, he directed Frankenstein and The Invisible Man on one hand and also directed the 1936 version of Showboat and The Great Garrick! That kind of dichotomy is not something you see every day. All four films are at least very good and two are exceptional. Gods and Monsters is very much a film about people and Ian McKellen does his best work that I've seen to date. But Lynn Redgrave's performance is even better and probably her best ever. Make no mistake, this is McKellen's film. Aided by an excellent script and with most of the performances top-notch, McKellen delivers a fine portayal of Whale. Brenden Fraser is the one somewhat of a clinker here. He has his moments, but for the most part, he is barely adequate and at times isn't terribly believable. Had he done a better job, Gods and Monsters could have been in the Best Picture race instead of The Thin Red Line. But even at that, this is well worth your time.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

thank you,IMDB, for my finding this unforgetttable film

9/10
Author: (sacha_moggy@yahoo.com) from new york, n.y.
10 July 2000

this film was in tv listing, looked it up on IMDB. Didn't expect much with title like Gods and Monsters. When I saw high ratings and fantastic reviews, I gave it a try and saw one of the most memorable films ever.Ian McKellen is better than *all* the Oscar winnners; and entire cast is superb. See it.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

A compelling, absorbing tale of horror, love, and degeneration.

9/10
Author: (deverman@earthlink.net) from Maryland
18 September 1999

I was entranced by this film from the very beginning. As it develops, the film shows how Mr. Whales tried to express the horror he experienced in the trenches of war in the horror scenes he constructed on film. The stark, screaming realities run parallel, such as when we see the Frankenstein monster superimposed over No Man's Land, with the terrain and lightning effects showing disturbing similarities between war footage and the footage in Whales' horror films. Similarly macabre humor is pointed out between various monster scenes and the horrific humor we learn Whales has had to participate in while in the trenches.

All the major actors in this film give excellent performances. Sometimes I was sympathetic to James Whale, and sometimes I loathed him, but I never grew tired of him. This was, I believe, at least as much a result of excellent direction as of McKellan's talent. Brendan Fraser's character (Clay) likewise presents as a person of complexities, whereas Clay could have easily been a one-dimensional pretty boy.

Ultimately, I believe this film's strength lies in its director's sensibilities and interpretation.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

This is one great movie that Brenden Fraser was in.

10/10
Author: Guy from London, England
3 August 1999

I loved this movie. It was the funniest movie i have ever seen. Ian McKellen really plays well as a homosexual. The funniest part was when he tried to seduce Brenden Fraser. I suggest you go out to rent this movie. But seriously, it was enjoyable film about the friendship between a director and his gardener.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Very Over-Rated, Somewhat Disappointing

Author: tfrizzell from United States
10 October 2000

"Gods and Monsters" is a film which deals with the possible last days of famous Hollywood director James Whale (Ian McKellen in his Oscar-nominated role). Openly gay at a time when Hollywood just did not want to hear or know that, Whale's ability as a director was overlooked due to scandal and controversy. His empty final days are made full by a young gardener (Brendan Fraser) who befriends the elderly director and makes him realize that life is precious after all. Also along for the ride is Whale's Catholic housekeeper (Lynn Redgrave, in a strange Oscar-nominated performance) who is torn between her faith and her loyalty to her employer. Bill Condon's Oscar-winning screenplay is not very good at all. He is never sure where he wants to go with the film and this makes the movie somewhat confusing and irritating. His direction is nothing to write home about either. Ian McKellen and Brendan Fraser both do good work, but they are unable to carry the film by themselves. They get no help from Lynn Redgrave who is awful in this film. Just like in "Shine", Redgrave is totally out-of-place. I do not know why this film has been honored the way it has. It was easily the most over-rated film of 1998. This movie is only above-average at best. Disappointing. 3.5 out of 5 stars.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Wow! What a film!

10/10
Author: guil fisher from New York City, NY
24 October 1999

I rented this movie because I was told McKellan was good in it and that Frazer bared his bod.

You can imagine my surprise when I found myself totally absorbed in the picture. What a wonderful story and what great performances. I sat and watched these actors take me into the old world of movies. A sort of "Sunset Boulevard" with different genders. There was the aging actor/director, the young gardner who visits and the loyal servant who takes care of him. There you have the same trio and almost the same period of time.

I loved the homosexual underlying theme and Ian's playing his 'out of the closet' role to perfection. I loved Redgrave's simple, yet strong, performance as the caring servant who always watched out for him and his companions of the night. Fraser brought, not only the sexual contents, but a simplicity and somewhat dark shadowed side to the character. You wanted to see him give in to Whale. Yet, the way the final revealing was played, you couldn't have had a better way of demonstrating this. I applaud the director, Ian and Brendan for one of the screens most provocative moments in a movie. The way it was shot through a reflection in the window, while he slowly removed his clothes, was breathtaking. I can watch that scene over and over. In fact, I am going out to buy the video.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Outstanding performance by Ian McKellen as one of the movies' great eccentrics

7/10
Author: Erewhon from Los Angeles, California
5 November 1998

McKellen has admitted that while he knew nothing about Whale when he was asked to play him in Bill Condon's movie, he did some checking and discovered their lives had many parallels. Whatever it took, he seems to have slipped into Whale's skin, giving a simply brilliant performance, the best by a male lead so far this year. If he's overlooked at Oscar time, it'll be nothing less than a damned shame. One of the remarkable things about this movie is that while Whale was gay (as is McKellen), this is not emphasized in the film any more than is the heterosexuality of Brendan Fraser's character. In short, this is not a "gay movie" but a movie about a man who was gay. Similarly, Whale's having been a movie director is simply part of his life -- and of his past, since he'd quit directing about 14 years before the time the movie is set -- so that this is not a movie about Hollywood per se, but about the end of the life of a man who lived and worked in Hollywood. It's really about a man trying to get ready to die, how he (sometimes unwillingly) re-examines his past life, with wistful melancholy, bravery and some sense of regret -- but he also knows he basically lived a good life. Whale may not have been a very pleasant person to know, but McKellen illuminates his soul -- at least as adapted from Christopher Bram's novel by Bill Condon -- and makes him endearing, infuriating and fascinating. The film is also >beautifully< photographed. Note: the story is mostly fictional.

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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Gee, where should _I_ begin?

4/10
Author: adam zerda from Evansville, IN
3 September 1999

This movie really isn't about anything. It COULD be a movie about a lonely man who has lost his loved ones, can't take care of himself, and is slowly dying.

It COULD be a movie about Hollywood's homosexual background, and the effect the coverups had on those making movies in the 30's.

It COULD even be a movie about some boring friendship that no-one really cared to see between a lower-class gardener and his lower-class, graduated to fame, director buddy.

Instead, it is simply a boring movie that tries to cover EVERYTHING, and instead does nothing. Tell me it really mattered that the main character was "the father of Frankenstein"! It didn't matter at all!

This COULD have been a movie about my gay uncle Freddy and his beefcake, meathead mechanic 'friend'. Most definately over-rated.

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admirable work

Author: Kirpianuscus from Romania
13 June 2016

first for each performance from the lead roles, especially for Brendan Fraser. than, for the force of story. not the least, for splendid job of Lynn Redgrave. a film who use biographic details for a subtle reflection about great universal themes. the flash backs, the dialogues, the details and the precise portrait of humanity are the great virtues of a magnificent trip in essence of fears, illusions, expectations , shadows of the past. to escape from yourself - that is the axis of a film who gives few interesting answers to the old problem of meaning of life. a film about importance of truth. and about role of a meeting. about different forms of confession and legacy. delicate and powerful. poetic in bitter form. and, so, convincing. a director, an old lady and a young gardener.crumbs of past. as bricks from a strange bridge between past and present.

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masterful performance from Ian McKellen

7/10
Author: SnoopyStyle
5 December 2014

James Whale (Ian McKellen) was once a great director of monster movies like Frankenstein. He is now retired and slowly losing his mind as he pines for the past. He lives with his longterm housemaid Hanna (Lynn Redgrave) who finds his homosexuality morally wrong based on her religious convictions. He befriends his gardener Clayton Boone (Brendan Fraser) who poses for his sketches. Clayton is a womanizing Korean War vet.

There is something predatory about Ian McKellen's performance. He inhabits the dirty old man role without being completely disgusting. He gives a damaged vulnerability to his character. It is masterful work. I think Brendan Fraser is fine but I want more quiet anger from him. It starts right from the start when he hit the speed bag as he walks to the car. I just perceive Brendan having a bit of fun to hit the bag rather than him with anger issues. I think it's his persona. I keep thinking he is about to make a joke about something.

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