186 - Gods and Monsters (1998)

The controversial life of Frankenstein's director, James Whale.

James Whale (Ian McKellen), director of Frankenstein, has long since retired from film and is now living at home cared for by his housekeeper, Hanna (Lynn Redgrave). Following a stroke he frequently has flashbacks to moments in his life, triggered by significant present day events.

He regularly entertains young gentlemen who wish to discuss Frankenstein with him, but it is his bizarre relationship with the new gardener, Clayton Boone (Brendan Fraser) that concerns Hanna the most.

Theatrical Poster
Source: Listal
Before putting in the DVD, I knew very little about Gods and Monsters save what was on the blurb. So, I went into the film not knowing exactly what to make of a film that suggests a bond between Brendan Fraser and Ian McKellen.

Much like Brokeback Mountain, the crux of the Gods and Monsters storyline is the relationship between the two men. It doesn't descend into the physical side of the mountain, but the admiration and chemistry between the two is clear to see.

Ian McKellen, as Whale, is immense. At times I didn't know whether to laugh at his sense of humour or to cry at the fall of a much admired man. Brendan Fraser may seem a bizarre choice to play alongside McKellen (think George of the Jungle), but he pulls off the role of the emotionally confused young man. It is Fraser that emulates the feeling of the audience.

The story is told to the backdrop of Frankenstein and its sequel, Bride of Frankenstein. Throughout the film, there is a genius silhouette with the men taking on the appearance of Frankenstein and his monster.

An emotional story, with McKellen at his best.