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Gods and Monsters
     

Gods and Monsters

5.0 5
Director: Ian McKellen, Brendan Fraser, Lynn Redgrave, Lolita Davidovich

Cast: Ian McKellen, Brendan Fraser, Lynn Redgrave, Lolita Davidovich

 

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Gods and Monsters was promoted from the outset as an artistic drama, but the publicity tended to play coyly on the possibility of a homosexual romance between the retired film director James Whale, played by Ian McKellen and his hunky gardener Clayton Boone (Brendan Fraser). While the film does involve romance, the central relationship between the director and

Overview

Gods and Monsters was promoted from the outset as an artistic drama, but the publicity tended to play coyly on the possibility of a homosexual romance between the retired film director James Whale, played by Ian McKellen and his hunky gardener Clayton Boone (Brendan Fraser). While the film does involve romance, the central relationship between the director and his gardener is about the development of a genuine friendship between two outwardly dissimilar but inwardly kindred spirits. In the story, Whale has been living for many years in peaceful, if not entirely contented retirement, under the loving and watchful eye of his contentious and argumentative Hungarian housekeeper (Lynn Redgrave). His earlier celebrity as the director of the original Frankenstein movie and its sequel, The Bride of Frankenstein, results in his being visited occasionally by disagreeable young men who have come to bask in the reminiscences of this creator of two "camp" classics. His reputation as a fairly outrageous homosexual comes into play here, when one particularly unpleasant and effeminate young man comes by seeking cinematic tidbits: the director challenges the boy to a game of stripping off one article of clothing for every revelation he shares about his moviemaking past. He had gotten the boy down to his briefs when he is stricken with one of his ever-recurring bouts of epilepsy, the result of a series of strokes. By way of contrast, while he is clearly interested in his gardener as a sex-object, gradually luring him into ever closer association, the openness and vulnerability of this awkwardly aggressive heterosexual boy inspires him to reveal the history of his heart. It turns out that, like the young man who is modeling for his supposed artworks, he came from a poor and difficult background. By the time naïve gardener learns of the director's homosexuality from the housekeeper, he has been drawn too deeply under the man's spell to stay away from their meetings for long. While the tension between the men never departs, a genuine relationship of caring develops between them. Meanwhile, Whale has been clearly observing the progressive deterioration of his mental faculties, and is increasingly being overwhelmed by vivid memories and visions.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
Based on the life of legendary filmmaker James Whale, Gods and Monsters is a wonderfully affecting portrait of friendship, loss and regret. Whale's confidence and indulgence belied his vast reserve of pain and melancholy, and Ian McKellan, with his expressive eyes, captures those emotions perfectly. As the hunky groundskeeper who's the object of Whale's affection, Brendan Fraser reveals a high degree of emotional intelligence and vulnerability. The role was an important one for Fraser, who was previously better-known for lighter fare, such as 1997's George of the Jungle. The movie was also a great success for writer-director Bill Condon, who was previously best-known for the B-movie sequel Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh (1995). Condon won the Best Adapted Screenplay award for his work; and a nearly unrecognizable Lynn Redgrave earned a Best Supporting Actress nomination as Whale's eccentric, conflicted maid. The combined efforts make Gods a film that is both tender and tragic, a sparkling portrait of two seemingly diverse misfits whose lives unexpectedly intersect.

Product Details

Release Date:
06/17/2003
UPC:
0031398833222
Original Release:
1998
Rating:
R
Source:
Lions Gate
Sales rank:
35,886

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5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love this movie! Ian McKellan and Brendan Fraser are both wonderful and the story of their complex relationship rings true.
Guest More than 1 year ago
There is so much attention given to those who act, direct and produce Hollywood films. However, not much is ever done to look at the private lives of such cinematic giants such as James Whale. This movie shows the trials and tribulations involved in leading a life that is responsible for creating great works such as Whale's Frankenstein and other lesser known titles that play in small theatres. It is a great film to show to someone who is interested in learning about what inspires and motivates other people to create such great works.
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