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Gods and Monsters

Year: 1998
Studio: Lionsgate Films
Director: Bill Condon
Writer: Bill Condon
Cast: Ian McKellen, Brendan Fraser, Lynne Redgrave, Lolita Davidovich

If there's one thing Hollywood loves, it's movies about Hollywood. Personally the older I get and the more interested in history I become the more I love movies about real people, which explains my love for the films like The Queen, The Special Relationship Oliver Stone's W (I think I'm the only person who liked it).

I didn't know a thing about Frankenstein director James Whale but there's something thrilling about being shown behind the curtain of someone's life who was in the public eye no matter how stylised it is or how much an interpretation of a writer or director it is.

It seems to be the mid 50s and the gentlemanly, gay Whale (McKellen) is enjoying his dotage in Hollywood even though his health is crumbling. When he befriends gruff gardener Clayton (Fraser) the elderly ex director and the blokey ex marine strike up a friendship that bypasses and goes much deeper than sexuality but changes them both, challenging the former's idea of friendship and helping the latter as his mind falls increasingly victim to depression because of several strokes.

A handful of scenes didn't ring true as Fraser reacted far more strongly than the situation warranted, but as always, he's great in the right role. Lynn Redgrave as Whale's prickly housekeeper Hanna was also excellent.

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