12 user 34 critic

Frankenstein (2011)

National Theatre Live: Frankenstein (original title)
1:01 | Trailer
Created by Victor Frankenstein, the one known only as the creature sets out to discover the world and the meaning of life.


Danny Boyle, Tim Van Someren (co-director)


Nick Dear (play), Mary Shelley (novel)





Cast overview, first billed only:
Benedict Cumberbatch ... The Creature / Victor Frankenstein
Jonny Lee Miller ... The Creature / Victor Frankenstein
Ella Smith ... Gretel, a prostitute / Clarice, Elizabeth's maid
John Killoran John Killoran ... Gustav, a beggar / Constable
Steven Elliot Steven Elliot ... Klaus, a beggar
Lizzie Winkler ... Agatha de Lacey
Karl Johnson ... De Lacey, her father-in Law
Daniel Millar Daniel Millar ... Felix de Lacey, his son
Naomie Harris ... Elizabeth Lavenza, Victor's fiancée
Haydon Downing Haydon Downing ... William Frankenstein, Victor's brother (as Hayden Downing)
Jared Richard Jared Richard ... William Frankenstein, Victor's brother
George Harris ... M. Frankenstein, father of Victor & William
Daniel Ings ... Servant of the Frankenstein household
Martin Chamberlain Martin Chamberlain ... Servant of the Frankenstein household
Mark Armstrong ... Rab, a crofter


Created by Victor Frankenstein, the one known only as the creature sets out to discover the world and the meaning of life.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Sci-Fi


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Did You Know?


Danny Boyle asked Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller to shave their heads in order portray the Monster (both actors switched between Frankenstein and his Monster with every show). Cumberbatch couldn't agree to it, as he was committed to War Horse (2011) and couldn't shave his hair. Miller on the other hand did agree, and therefore needed a wig when it was his turn to play Frankenstein. See more »


The Creature: I should be Adam. God was proud of Adam. But Satan's the one I sympathise with. For I was cast out, like Satan, though I did no wrong. And when I see others content, I feel the bile rise in my throat, and it tastes like Satan's bile!
See more »

Alternate Versions

Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller alternated playing the roles of Victor Frankenstein and the creature on stage, so a performance of each version was filmed. When the play was screened in cinemas, screenings alternated between versions. When the play was made available on YouTube via National Theatre At Home in 2020, the performance with Benedict Cumberbatch as the creature was released on April 30th, followed by the performance with Jonny Lee Miller as the creature on May 1st. See more »


Featured in Frankenstein: A Modern Myth (2012) See more »

User Reviews

It's alive
5 June 2019 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

Remember studying Mary Shelley's 'Frankenstein' in school in falling in love with it, its prose, the unforgettable characters, the atmosphere and individual scenes like the scene with Felix. Of the film incarnations and Frankenstein/creature pairings, my favourites will always be Colin Clive/Boris Karloff ('Bride of Frankenstein' being even better than their 1931 original film) and Peter Cushing/Christopher Lee.

It was very interesting to me hearing that 'Frankenstein' had been adapted to stage, part of me was conflicted as to whether that particular book would translate well to stage. The casting of Jonny Lee Miller and Benedict Cumberbatch as Frankenstein and the creature was interesting to say the least. But being someone who loves going to the National Theatre Live productions and find the series fascinating, decided to cast any reservations aside. And am very glad about making that decision, as it turned out to be surprisingly excellent.

Did think though that the supporting cast were not on the same level as the leads. The exceptions being Naomie Harris' sincere Elizabeth and the touching Felix of Daniel Millar. Do agree that William was pretty feeble.

On the other hand, there is a lot right with this 'Frankenstein'. There is a lot of atmosphere in the sets and lighting, dark and gothic without being too austere. Given full impact by the skillful photography that is cinematic worthy even. The dark and poignant drama of the story are brought out in an energetic and intelligent manner, the mountain cave scene being particularly great.

With this production of 'Frankenstein', did find myself biting my nails and also found myself welling up. It never feels like there's too many people on stage or that there's too little going on. The dialogue flows beautifully and the story has brains and soul. What makes this 'Frankenstein' especially worth seeing. Jonny Lee Miller brings authority and mystery to Frankenstein but it's Benedict Cumberbatch's creepy yet poignant creature who steals the show here. They reverse roles too, and that is interesting as well. Cumberbatch as Frankenstein is authoritative and Miller's creature is somewhat softer while far from being bland, he's still unsettling enough.

All in all, great. 9/10

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Release Date:

17 March 2011 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Frankenstein See more »


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