Gods and Monsters Movie

The New York Times
Saturday, September 26, 1998

by Janet Maslin

"Gods and Monsters" is an unalloyed success . . .  with a performance by Sir Ian McKellen that richly deserves to be remembered at the end of the year. . . .

(Director) Condon is at his most impressive when weaving their peculiar bond into the spirit of the Frankenstein movies, something he does with tenderness and insight. An inspired section of the film finds all of its principals watching "The Bride of Frankenstein" on television and responding to it in revealing ways. . . .

. . . "Gods and Monsters" has been capably made in all regards. What especially elevates it is the razor-sharp cleverness of McKellen's performance, which brings unusual fullness and feeling to a most unusual man.

What's more, Condon segues deftly through memory into the moviemaking process itself.

Los Angeles Times
November 4, 1998

"Sir Ian McKellen Treats Acting as the Province of the 'Gods'"
by Kenneth Turan

There are so many colors to McKellen's performance, so many diverse emotions fleetingly play on his face, that resisting his art is out of the question. Better work by an actor will not be seen this year.

Vividly remembered for re-creating his stage role in the fascist-themed "Richard III," McKellen usually opts for smaller films, and his work, always impeccable, reaches a remarkable new plateau here.

Writer-director Condon has given Whale some dead-on lines. . . every word, even the ordinary ones, are handled with perfect grace and casual skill.

As a psychologically acute portrait of a singular man at a crossroads in his life, nothing whatsoever is wanting.

Time Magazine
November 2, 1998

"Ready for His Closeup"
by Richard Corliss

As Whale in Bill Condon's film, McKellen is sunset charm incarnate, a gay man melting inside his decaying body for the gross, cheerful fellow (Brendan Fraser) who works in the garden.  It's Chekhov in Lavender.

Rolling Stone
November 12, 1998

"Beyond Scares: Gods and Monsters"
by Peter Travers

Elegantly witty and haunting . . . McKellen gives the performance of his career . . . and Brendan Fraser excels. 

Lynn Redgrave is fantastic in a role that combines high comedy with aching tenderness.

Condon and his wondrous tech team craft flashbacks that stunningly re-create the Bride (of Frankenstein) set.

The New Yorker
November 9, 1998

"Father of the Bride"
by Anthony Lane

You don't have to be a film buff to relish this portrait of Hollywood -- to laugh at a world where the monsters, after a few martinis, are indistinguishable from the gods.

There are a number of these fantastical episodes littering the film: not just clips from "Bride of Frankenstein" but a splendid sequence in which Whale's errant memory returns to the set of that picture -- to his younger incarnation, complete with cigarette holder, and to Rosalind Ayres as a hair-raising double for Elsa Lanchester.

This picture does (Whale) proud, and its closing shot -- one of the loveliest I have ever seen -- shows Boone stalking through a rainstorm. . .

LA Weekly
November 5, 1998

"Film Pick of the Week"
by Manohla Dargis

This atmospheric glimpse into the life of the gothic visionary James Whale impresses most with Ian McKellen's poweful star turn and the nearly as forceful peformance of his co-star Brendan Fraser.

Outside of the tender exchanges between McKellen and Fraser, what you remember most about this movie are Condon's graceful re-creations of signature scenes from Whale's work, scenes in which the dead aren't just re-animated, they're newly immortalized.

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