Ian McKellen is superb as James Whale, the man behind the celluloid Frankenstein. Departing from that point, everything works. We're taken by the hand of this elderly celebrity in a world - and a town -that worships celebrity. The town also worships youth and box office grosses. For Whale, youth and box office grosses are way back in his distant pass. That's why, I imagine, the arrival of the gardener with Brendan Fraser's body, awakens in the old man some kind of spark. Their relationship is filled with a sort of emotional suspense that makes the entire movie, riveting. The story is told with a sort of personal melancholy that Bill Condon, the young writer/director, seems to understand fully. Compassion is in his eye and in his soul. The scene in which Ian McKellen remembers his swimming pool crowded with naked young men is one of the most beautifully reminders of how the aging heart remains alive within his memories. Very moving, very sad and very, very good.
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