Truth be told, it's not easy to write a film review as disconnected as I am from the underlying inspirations and principals of the movie in tow: Gods and Monsters. I knew little about James Whale and the Frankenstein franchise, possessed virtually zilch experience with Bill Condon (aside from the trivial baggage that his previous _and first_ feature film was the Direct-To-Oblivion sequel to the Scariest-Movie-Of-All-Time-When-I-Was-Fourteen, Candyman.), and unceremoniously avoided anything to do with Brendan Fraser. So, there's not much I can say about historical accuracy, era juxtapositions, or tour-de-force performances. All I know comes from the ninety-eight or so minutes I had with the film.
Which were pretty splendid, to say the least. What more, I was pleased by how little the film seemed to hit me over the head. Not with a lengthy diatribe over the political progressions of societal acceptance of diverse sexual orientations, not with any sort of disgusted expose of Hollywood's miscreants. Instead, I found a minimal but simplistically acceptable plot moved along by wonderful acting, vivid portrayals of what it's really like, beneath the typical distractions, gimmicks, and veils, to be a human being. Ian McKellan astounded me. Fact or fiction, he wasn't necessarily James Whale, but a complicated, reserved, and often misunderstood director who found a glimmer of intrigue and desire for his new gardener, Clayton Boone, played impeccably by Brendan Fraser. From their initial meeting with Whale indulging in staring at Boone hard-driving an edger, I was struck by a remarkable sense of kinship between the two, which only got better as the film unfolded. And, with Hanna--the third vertice of the bizarre love triangle--the edgy buffer between the men, I felt incredibly comfortable just watching three very different people open up to each other and to me. The irony of the title, Gods and Monsters, is that whether someone or something is considered a 'God' or 'Monster' is largely due to perception...human perception. We invent our gods and our monsters daily, and they are usually people we know, love, hate, or admire. I spent a very good ninety-eight minutes, mostly from being in the company of those three fellow humans.
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