Reviews written by registered user
|2 reviews in total|
Much to her adult children's chagrin & nearly immediately after
Elizabeth's (Dame Judy Dench) husband's death, the widowed, attic tenor
saxophone player becomes bent upon openly returning to her musical
hobby. Now that George is dead, Elizabeth no longer has to practice
playing sax in the attic. As she grows more pleased with playing in the
open, Elizabeth takes a stroll along memory lane, remembering when she
was a 15 year old member of a jazz swing band, "The Blonde Bombshells":
supposedly, an all-girl WWII group of talented jazz swing musicians.
One of the "Blonde Bombshells'" band members was a womanizing,
cross-dressing drummer, Patrick (Ian Holm), with whom Elizabeth
Both Patrick & Elizabeth's 12-year-old grand-daughter, Joanna (Millie Findlay), press Elizabeth to round up the former band members & take up performing together again; this time as a bunch of sexagenarians. Among the band members she finds are the (still foxy!) bass playing, Madeleine (Leslie Caron); Dinah (Olympia Dukakis), a trumpet playing, alcoholic & out-spoken, money-grubbing divorcée & widow living off of wealth from her many (ex)marriages in a Craigievar Scottish castle; Gwen, (real life US star jazz singer, Clio Laine), having at the lead vocal; Annie, (June Whitfield), as the Salvation Army trombone player; Betty, (the late piano player, Joan Sims), who's located training the ivory keys in a Hastings pub.
As Elizabeth, Patrick & Joanna scout the world for members of the 1940's band & try to convince them to resume performing together, Elizabeth is oft times beside herself as she learns more than she wants to know about their adult lives--including her own--while having a blast playing terrific music with the last of the living 'Blonde Bombshells'.
Amusing, nostalgic, historical, sentimental, multi-generational entertainment that is seriously fun. The actors deliver wonderful performances. Regardless of their ages, they are still Bombshell entertainers who put on quite a show. (The DVD is now out & worth owning because of the bonus features & Dolby Digital sound). Surely as a fan of any of these terrific actors the VHS is a collector's item.
Among the most intriguing characters I've seen is Hanna (Redgrave). I
knew she was in the film, there she was in the opening seen & I still
kept looking for her! That's how terrific her characterization is of
the Hungarian Catholic widowed maid to the flaming gay famed director,
James Whale (Sir Ian McKellen).
Is there 'any' character that Sir McKellen can't play to perfection today? In "God's & Monster's", McKellen mastered Whale & gave Fraser an acting lesson ::winking::.
To watch the two real life friends, Lynn Redgrave & Ian McKellen, play purrfect foils--Hanna praying for her beloved "Mr. Jimmy's" 'unspeakable' sinful soul because he's gay was hysterical. McKellen pretending to flirt with Fraser, the epitome of a t-totally straight guy that any gay guy could clock in a heartbeat, was also side-splitting. Hanna believing they were having a romantic relationship was just too much fun as she threw serving trays at them & gave Whale scorned looks as if to kill whenever he'd have Fraser in for lunch or tea. These subtleties made the movie an absolute delight.
Thus, while heavy drama was going on, there was a comedy line-in-cheek throughout the motion picture. Of course, the plot proves why "Mr. Jimmy" was provoking his hunk of a gardener (Fraser) . . . but I'm not telling. That's the best part of the picture.
Whoever claims this movie is 'gay-bashing' doesn't know the meaning of it. The movie was about the director of "Frankenstein & Bride of Frankenstein." He just so happened to be gay, & thus, part of his life story as a gay man had to be featured in the film. Hanna playing a religious foil was right on time for the moment of the release of the film when the major church denominations are factionalizing over gays being equal in the churches! That's a great film--one that conveys a social struggle in the character of one great actor, Lynn Redgrave. She got the attitude of the church exactly right.
Doing a queer critique of "God's & Monsters," I rate it a 20 out of 10! This was not the silly, slapstick, "To Wong Foo," bizarre, "Stonewall," that was all out of context from the reality of the characters, or there ever so unreal (but cute), "Priscilla Queen of the Desert." This story is very true to life then & now. It came out right on time, as well.
Lynn Regrave delivered the performance of her lifetime! In my mind she won the Oscar. McKellen gave another of his stellar characterizations & also won my Oscar. I also feel the picture should have been best picture of the year. Fortunately, many other notable awards were given that the blindered Film Academy was too dense to do itself. Redgrave was most robbed of her Oscar because she was anyone but herself! She wasn't even recognizable as Lynn Redgrave, for heaven's sake.
So if anything or anyone was gay bashing, it was the Film Academy itself, for overlooking the Oscar winning performances of Redgrave & McKellen & the Best Picture of the Year.
. . . & I'm still watching it in late August 2007.