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GODS AND MONSTERS

SYNOPSIS:
The movie opens in 1957. Hollywood director James Whale (Ian McKellen) has been out of the movie industry for some 20 years. These days, he is tended by his fiercely protective housekeeper, Hanna (Lynn Redgrave), and he is fascinated by the newly hired gardener, Clayton Boone (Brendan Fraser), a handsome drifter who loves Whale's stories of the old days. During long visits with Whale, the younger man triggers painful memories in flashback for the old man. Remembering his losses, both professional and personal, Whale plunges into melancholy.

"Haunting and powerful, Gods and Monsters is an extraordinary film, rich with emotion, valuable in integrity. It starts with a witty, economical script whose structure perfectly suits the intertwining of past and present. The settings are gorgeous, the cinematography splendid and the direction artistically unobtrusive. It is an intensely personal story – an intimate journey into a man's life, his thoughts, his dreams. A man who knows himself well, likes himself and accepts himself totally, quirks and all. Ian McKellan steals our attention with a detailed performance that is nothing short of magnificent. His every minute on screen is marvellous – he is wilful, sordid, playful, pitiful, urbane and unequivocally entertaining. He has us in the palm of his hand – this is a performance to celebrate. But he is not alone. Lynn Redgrave is remarkable as the housekeeper whose contempt for her employer is only matched by her undying loyalty for him. The catalyst is another man, who is not so confident – of himself or his sexuality. And Brendan Fraser is terrific. Gods and Monsters, with its haunting score and moving cinematic sequences, is outstanding cinema – an experience that only superlatives can describe, and one you should not miss."
Louise Keller

"The most refreshing thing about Gods and Monsters is that it doesn’t feel like a biopic at all. It is at once a character study and a romantic comedy, a profile and a human drama, a morality play and a frolic. Already eulogised for his performance in other quarters, Ian McKellan is riveting, emotive, propulsive, funny and pathetic – all within the confines of his face. The probe is deep enough to matter but never academic, as we tour the life of James Whale, film director and homosexual, dandy and ruffian, sage and innocent, artist and phoney. He is atypical yet so recognisable as the wandering talent in a world that he finds alien. The film’s great asset is its abandon of awe in search of the man. Brendan Fraser is never out of his league as the young object of McKellan’s affection, and Redgrave gives us a comic yet profoundly devoted and interesting housemaid (albeit her few words in Hungarian are appalingly unintelligble, but only us Hungarians would notice – and we forgive her; it’s a bitch of a language). This is a joy of a film, a throwback to the great human dramas of the Hollywood that made Hollywood; where movies for Everyman (even if dealing with not so-Every-man) were invented."
Andrew L. Urban

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 2
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

GODS AND MONSTERS(M)
(US)

CAST: Ian McKellan, Brendan Fraser, Lynn Redgrave, Lolita Davidovich, David Jukes.

PRODUCERS: Paul Colichman, Gregg Fienberg and Mark R.Harris

DIRECTOR: Bill Condon

SCRIPT: Christopher Bram and Bill Condon

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Stephen M. Katz

EDITOR: Virginia Katz

MUSIC: Carter Burwell

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Richard Sherman III

RUNNING TIME: 101 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Pinefilm

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: June 24, 1999

VIDEO RELEASE: November 8, 1999

VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: Siren







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