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Gods and Monsters

1h 45m Adaptation, Biography + History, Films, Talks & Events 1998

Ian McKellan and Brendan Fraser give empathetic and urgent performances in this Bill Condon adaptation of the 1995 novel Father of Frankenstein.

Ian McKellan and Brendan Fraser give empathetic and urgent performances in this Bill Condon adaptation of the 1995 novel Father of Frankenstein.

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Ian McKellen got some of the best critical notices of his career to date ― and a Best Actor Oscar nomination ― for his tragicomic turn as director James Whale in Bill Condon’s 1998 adaptation of Christopher Bram’s novel Father of Frankenstein, and he deserved them all. But the actor who makes that performance possible is Brendan Fraser as Clayton Boone, the gardener who becomes the ailing Whale’s confidant and unlikely muse, pushing against his reflexive homophobia to accept the openly gay filmmaker as a friend. Condon doesn’t soft-pedal the cruelty of American mores in the 1950s, and Fraser ― playing against the cheerful-himbo persona he’d forged in films like Encino Man, Airheads, and George of the Jungle ― gives Boone an edge of tension that makes his initial scenes with McKellen feel genuinely dangerous. McKellen and Lynn Redgrave (who plays Whale’s implacable housekeeper Hannah) were recognized with Oscar nominations, but Fraser is just as good, using his physicality and his empathy that feels strikingly similar ― while entirely different ― to what he’s doing this year in Darren Aronofsky’s The Whale.

NORM WILNER

Content advisory: violence, coarse language, sexually suggestive scenes

Director

Bill Condon

Languages

English, Hungarian

Captions

English

Countries

USA, UK

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